The Letter to the church in Philadelphia is unique within the seven letters in Revelation. It’s almost entirely filled with promises to the faithful in this church. Jesus has only good things to say to this church. Therefore, the examination will obviously be about them. What did they do right? How might they have achieved such good news from Jesus? And what can we learn for us today? That is, both for our churches and for us as individuals?
Peter’s Confession of Christ
The Parable of The Wise And The Foolish Builders. One one level, it’s about the choice between building a house on rock or sand. That sounds like an easy choice to make. On another level, it’s about what we do, if anything, after hearing or reading what Jesus had to say. It’s interesting that it comes at the very end of The Sermon On The Mount. Chapters 5 to 7 of Matthew’s Gospel.
John Stott says this about the passages:The Sermon on the Mount is probably the best-known part of the teaching of Jesus, though arguably it is the least understood, and certainly it is the least obeyed. It is the nearest thing to a manifesto that he ever uttered, for it is his own description of what he wanted his followers to be and to do. To my mind, no two words sum up its intention better, or indicate more clearly its challenge to the modern world, than the expression ‘Christian counter-culture’.
That really sets up the “problems” with parables quite nicely. They’re well known. Easy to remember. But hard to understand. Just like the Sermon on the Mount. There’s a saying about something being a riddle wrapped up in an enigma. This is one of those.
I do know now, after these past 7 years. Some of it was for others, based on feedback I’ve received. Some of it was certainly for me. The cost has been high. And yet, looking at the image at the top, I realize that when we’re talking about this particular cost, it’s really not necessary to blow up the budget – because the budget is way bigger than we can even begin to realize.