My mother was a shopper extraordinaire. She could sniff out a bargain hidden in a concrete bunker twenty feet below ground level. That’s where she did most of her shopping. It wasn’t called a concrete bunker. It was a “bargain basement.” I spent a lot of time with Mom in bargain basements. Most of my clothes had the labels cut out of them, or were found on the “damaged goods” table, or were marked “slightly irregular.” John Ortberg would call the bargain basement the “department-of-something’s-gone-wrong.” A stain won’t come out. A zipper won’t zip. A button won’t butt. Undesired.
It’s too bad that a lot of people look at the church much as I did the bargain basement—society’s department-of-something’s-gone-wrong. Damaged goods. The undesirables. At best, slightly irregular.
Reality Check: God designed the church for undesirables.
Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. – 1 Corinthians 1:26
Paul reminds the church that many of them had been damaged by sexual sin, worshipping idols, homosexuality, abusing themselves and abusing others, selfish ambition, out-of-control hostility, addiction, and other stuff like that (see also 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21).
Reality Check: God designed the church to reclaim the undesirables and rescue the damaged. God did not design the church to be a collection of brokenness. That’s where we all start, but God is not finished with us. Jesus said to Peter, “…I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it” (Matthew 16:18). God doesn’t leave us where we are. “We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10).
So, what does this mean? For those who have been turned every-which-way-but-loose it means that God sews a new label on you—and it’s a designer label: God’s Masterpiece. He cleanses the stain that has shamed you for so long (see 1 Corinthians 6:11; Psalm 51:9-10).
He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. – Psalm 147:3
It means we don’t stay down in the “department-of-something’s- gone-wrong;” God moves us up to the main floor and invites us to live a rich and satisfying life (see John 10:10).
This Sunday will be a great time to nail down who you are—God’s Masterpiece—as we sing these songs: