Los Alamos Church of Christ

Let the Word Dwell

#20 Ephesians 1:3

All Spiritual Blessings

 

This morning I am going to teach a memory technique called the Memory Palace.  This technique has been used for 1,000 of years. Way back before the invention of teleprompters or even notebook paper, the ancient Romans memorized speeches by pegging key ideas of their speech to locations in a familiar place.  We are wired with great geographic memories.  We can remember where we are and how we got there.  We can remember the rooms in a building. The Memory Palace takes advantage of this by placing things we want to remember in familiar locations. You memorize by placing things in different rooms in a familiar building and then just walk through the building reciting what you have memorized.  We are going to use this technique to memorize 7 spiritual blessings we have in Christ.

 

Our memory verse is Ephesians 1:3 in our 50 verse challenge.

 

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#20 Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

 

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This morning I want us to memorize 7 “spiritual blessings in the heavenly places”.  There are more.  I know that.  There are lots more. But these are some of my favorite things.  In theme with our memory work of the year, I have a sub-challenge.  Let’s learn 7 spiritual blessings in Christ. 

 

Let’s begin with a building with which we are all familiar… this one.

 

Visualize our church building. 

 

1) Parking Lot

 

2) Front Steps

 

3) Foyer

 

4) Auditorium

 

5) Baptistery

 

6) Kitchen

 

7) Play Ground

 

That’s easy enough… say the seven spots with me…

 

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We have our spots. Let’s place a spiritual blessing in each of the seven spots.  The more connective; the more moving, the more ridiculous, the louder, the more vivid we see the blessings in each of our spots the easier it will be to memorize. 

 

Seven Spiritual Blessings

 

 

1) The Parking Lot of Justification

 

 

Imagine you pull into our parking lot on a Sunday morning.  As you get out of your car a huge gavel comes out of the sky being held by God and smashes your car.  Metaphorically, your car is the guilt of sin.  As the enormous gavel smashes your car you hear... “Not guilty!”  God has crushed your guilt. 

 

#13 Romans 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

We are declared not guilty.  This is the first blessing.  By faith we are justified; just-if-I’d never sinned.  When we have faith; when we trust in the death; when we know that God does not count our sins against us; we live in peace with God.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ we are not guilty.  We can forget our past.  We can live without blame. There is no culpability for those in Christ Jesus. 

 

Let’s rejoice in justification as we walk up the front steps…

 

2) The Front Steps of Sanctification… Restoration

 

 

As we walk up to the steps, something happens.  Instead of walking up the steps… we begin to float.  We levitate up the steps, not under our own power.  We rise to each higher step.  As we float up, we feel ourselves changing.  We are getting better.  We are becoming more like Jesus.  The old ways, the old decisions, the old selfishness, the old ways of fear are gradually left on each step.  On the first step we leave prejudice.  On the next step we leave bitterness.  On the next step we leave pride.  Each step moves us upward in sanctification. 

 

#11 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 

 

We are moving toward restoration.  We are gradually becoming like what we were intended/created to be.  God has an ideal you in mind.  God sees you as you ought to be.  God sees in you the beauty of his Son.  God is moving you up the steps toward becoming who you are to be.  This restoration, which is happening now, to those who are in Christ, will be perfected in the next life.  We float higher all through this life until we are restored completely in the next. 

 

Let’s be amazed at God’s progress in us… toward sanctification, toward complete restoration. 

 

Then we walk through the front doors into the…

 

3) The Foyer of No Condemnation

 

 

Imagine as you enter the front door into the foyer the Walters are there to greet you.  Arnold and Frances shake your hand in welcome.  In the moment of shaking their hands you feel… free.  It is like a small current of electricity moves from your hand through their hands.  Your unease, your shame, your embarrassment, your burdens, your worries are drawn from your body into theirs’ where it is dissipated into the floor.  You smell some ozone, like after a storm.  You take a deep breath. 

 

#15 Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

 

Standing in the foyer you know there is no condemnation.  You see your fear… all your fears… drain away.  You see charred marks all over the carpet where fear has arched out of people… gone forever. Fear is zaperated for those in Christ.

 

 Let’s be comforted by the release of our fears.  We live free of fear!

 

Then, we move through the double doors into the…

 

4) The Temple of the Auditorium

 

 

As we walk into the auditorium, we feel the body of Christ come together.  Let’s imagine a veil across the door. You step through this gossamer veil into the temple.  There is a thin place of worship when the body comes together. 

 

#5 1 Corinthians 3:16 Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?

 

It is not the place, but the people which build the temple.  We connect as a body in worship to God. 1 Corinthians 3:16 is about us… the body.  We created the body of Christ.  We are reconciled to each other so that we can join together in praise.  It is an amazing blessing… we enter the temple as priests to worship.  This is holy ground where we can offer to God the gift or our worship.

 

Let’s praise God in worship as the temple! 

 

We walk over to the baptistery…

 

5) The Baptistery of Forgiveness 

 

We look into the waters of the baptistery.  We see, swimming around in the water, all of our sins.  We join Jesus in the tomb. 

 

#14 Romans 6:4a We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death.

 

We were buried with Him into his death by baptism.  We see all our fishy-sins die. Our sins are left in the tomb of baptism.  We die to our sins in order to walk in newness of life.  New, free, our sins are left to die in the tomb. 

 

Here is the amazing part… anytime we can, in repentance, walk through the waters again to leave our sins there, over and over again.  We are continually forgiven.  Those dead sins lose their power over us.  They are dead.

 

Let’s walk through the water to leave our sins to die. 

 

We move into the kitchen…

 

6) The Kitchen of Communication

 

 

As we enter the kitchen we sit down in a chair at a table.  On the table in front of us is a flame in the shape of a dove.  See the flames.  Feel the heat.  Watch this burning bird flies into us… down our throat into our hearts. 

 

#6 1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own.

 

The Holy Spirit lives within our bodies in order to be with us. 

--To communicate with us. 

--To lead us. 

--To guide us. 

--The Spirit works on our sanctification

--The Spirit is our guarantee of salvation

 

In the place, where we do a lot of talking, let’s be reminded to listen to the one inside us.  The Spirit communicates in many ways to his people.

 

Let’s pause to listen.

 

We then go out the back doors onto the playground…

 

7) The Playground of Re-Creation

 

 

We move out the back door onto the playground.  As we climb up to the slide, as we slide down, we hear the trumpet sound, we are changed as we step off the slide, we are imperishable and all the creation around us is pulsed into a re-creation. 

 

 

#10 1 Corinthians 15:52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

 

 

#16 Romans 8:19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.

 

Perhaps, Jesus pulls up in a 57 Chevy with the top down… “Do you want to go for a ride in the cool of the evening?”  We ride off into… eternity. 

 

Let’s long for that day. 

 

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I want to emphasize that all spiritual blessing are in Christ Jesus.  We live in blessing, in Christ.  We enter Christ by faith in the justification of his death.  We leave our sins in the tomb with Christ through baptism… into death.  Our fears are zaperated by keeping our connection to Christ.  The body of Christ gathered together in worship is a thin place because it is the body of Christ.   Our sanctification by the Spirit is in Christ.  The communication through the Spirit is based in our openness in Christ.  Our hope of eternal life is assured by the bonds of being Christ.  

 

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

 

The blessings from the throne of God flow down to us and through us by our faith-filled connection to the body of Christ. 

 

Let’s recap our 7 spiritual blessings…

 

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Let’s pray through the seven blessings. 

1) The Parking Lot of Justification…we are thankful for being made right.

2) The Steps of Sanctification… we join in our sanctification; trusting in His power for our improvement.

3) The Foyer of No Condemnation… we leave our fears on the floor… zaperated.

4) The Temple of Worship… when we are together lets connect our heart to the heart of God.

5) The Baptistery of Forgiveness… remember to continually re-dip ourselves to leave our sins dying.

6) The Kitchen of Communication… as we pray, let’s listen.

7) The Playground of Re-Creation… Make it real, so it means something today. 

 

Reciting the seven blessings while offering thanksgiving to God in each of these seven places, has the power to renew us to live on the altar in worship.  We are called to live on the altar.  This is encouragement to live on the altar! 

 

Let’s say Ephesians 1:3 together…

 

#20 Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

 

 

Tim Stidham

May 31, 2015

Los Alamos Church of Christ