When I put the concept of Vintage Faith Church together some years ago, I pictured a church where people and faith were like an antique store—a little quaint and a little damaged. I wanted faith to be simple as a concept, but not easy like cheap grace. I wanted to gather people who felt cracked and broken, but of great value. Not that we should remain damaged, but become—like a fine piece of furniture—restored. So Vintage Faith seemed an apt name for such a church.
Think about God browsing an antique store. What would he be looking for? He looks for the hearts that long to be restored. Then he picks us up and rolls us around in his huge hand, inspecting the cracks and the nicks, admiring his handiwork. Then he purchases us by the blood of his Son, knowing he has the method to restore us. This is our hope. This is our faith.
But God dislikes an antique shop made up of over-priced and over-rated people. He’s looking for the damaged ones who are in need of his restoring love. Think of Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the Publican.
Luke 18:9-14 - “To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ Then Jesus said, “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
So God likes the man or woman who knows they are broken and in need of help. But we walk into our churches like the Pharisee and snub our noses at the poor, broken people, thinking, I’m better than them. God has never been impressed with people who name their own price. He loves those who stand at a distance, feeling unworthy. He always tells them to come closer. So this is my prayer for you this morning—Come as you are and may you come closer to knowing God more.
To know God in his holiness is to know ourselves as sinners. This is the simplistic teaching of Vintage Faith Church. Understand this, and you’ve become a member of a damaged group of people, crying out, “God have mercy on us, sinners.” —Pastor Robbie Stofel