January 18, 2021
Heaven on Earth

Dr. Oliver Wagner
“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.”
Ephesians 1:3
This week we’ll be reading from selected and key verses from the Letter to the Ephesians. The letter opens with a theme of blessing. “Whatever blessings are in heaven,” Paul writes to the faithful saints in Ephesus, “are ours through Jesus Christ.” It’s one thing to say that God is good and great, loving and forgiving, life-giving and life-sustaining… but it’s another thing to say that God’s great gifts are ours here and now. Why wait? Heaven’s blessings, Paul wrote, have already been lavished upon us. By faith, we know them and name them. I don’t know about you, but too often I’m guilty of thinking God’s blessings are more future than present. This passage challenges that thinking, inviting us to open our eyes to the ways we are already richly blessed.

When someone is making homemade cookies in my house a few things are typical. First, excitement fills the air, and soon a really good aroma. Second, someone inevitably tries to get some of the batter before it's cooked. And finally, once out of the oven and placed on the counter to cool, any broken or imperfect cookie is immediately fair game. You need not wait for the baker to give permission but can get those fragments whenever you wish. From start to finish, there is much to enjoy. And while the end product is always “heavenly”, even the samples and tastes along the way are pretty good, too.

I challenge and invite you to look for ways today — even here and now — that you are already blessed with at least some of heaven’s gifts. What love or joy, provision or care, beauty or truth, comfort or kindness is yours today? You need not wait for such gifts but only need to receive them in faith with thanks and a humble heart. Of course, our faith looks forward to heaven’s glory beyond our earthly lives when “sin and death shall be finally and fully defeated.” And even until that time, we know we are already blessed! Recall how the 23rd Psalm says “goodness and mercy follow me all my days…until I dwell in the Lord’s house forevermore.” Recognition of God’s goodness throughout our lives and beyond them has us cry out to God, as this verse does, with praise and worship and blessing.
Blessed are you, Almighty God, and worthy to be praised. You freely give that our lives may have an abundance of heaven. Thank you for all you have done and will do for us in Jesus Christ whose name is above every name both now and forever. Amen.
Alpharetta Presbyterian Church
180 Academy Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009
770-751-0033 www.alpharettapres.com