BILLBOARD MESSAGE SERIES – 1
“We Buy Ugly Houses”
1 Peter 1:18-21
August 9, 2009
PLANT THE SEED: Video Clip – “White Oleander”
---Show 2 “We Buy Ugly Houses” slides…
I found this history of the “We Buy Ugly Houses” ad campaign on the “net”:
After developing award-winning franchised real estate offices in Dallas, TX
and Houston, TX in the 1970s and 1980s, the late Ken D'Angelo decided to
focus on recycling single-family houses in Dallas. That decision was the basis
for what has become HomeVestors of America, Inc., the "We Buy Ugly
In the early 1990s, Mr. D'Angelo created a unique billboard advertising
campaign that attracted people who were motivated to sell their houses
quickly and at a discount. Mr. D'Angelo was willing to purchase the
properties - even when they were in dire need of repair - thus the beginnings
of the HomeVestors of America, Inc., slogan "We Buy Ugly Houses". Mr.
D'Angelo resold some of the houses to local real estate investors, and in
other instances he repaired the properties - enhancing the neighborhoods
where they existed - and sold them, often to first-time home buyers.
Refer to Video
Did you hear about the Pennsylvania man who walked into a health club this
past week and shot some women participating in a Salsa Class? George
Sodoni, 48, whose neighbors described him as anti-social. He worked in the
finance department at a law firm. Here is what he wrote on his computer
concerning his decision:
"Women just don't like me. There are 30 million desirable women in the US
(my estimate) and I cannot find one," he wrote. The page ended with the
words "Death Lives!
How do we explain an action like this? If you believe in Natural Selection, is
this part of our evolution? As a Christ-follower and believer in the Bible I
believe the Biblical Worldview gives us the answer. I believe first of all that
God created humanity perfect; without sin. But our ancestors, Adam and
Eve, chose to disobey God and thus introduced sin into our world. This for
me explains the evil in our world. But then God, knowing that we could not
fix our sin problem chose to send his Only Son to die for my and your sins.
As I told you last week I’ve been reading books written by atheists this past
summer. One of the issues in Christianity that bothers them greatly is the
idea of God’s redeeming us from our sins through the sacrifice of Jesus.
First they deny the fact of sin and then they are repulsed by the very
concept of needing to be redeemed by a god who would have his own son
killed when they didn’t ask for it.
This is why I want to spend some time this morning playing off the billboard
idea of “We Buy Ugly Houses”. I want to go from the idea behind this add
campaign of ugly houses and apply to our lives.
I don’t know what the shape of your house is in, but I want to tell you that
whenever I see this billboard I am reminded that God has been in the
business of “buying ugly houses” much longer than any real estate agent ever
dreamed of being. In 1 Peter 1:18-21, we read:
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold
that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you
from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without
blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was
revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God,
who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope
are in God.” ---1 Peter 1:18-21
From Genesis to Revelation we read the story of God’s wonderful work of
redemption: of His work in the world buying ugly houses. These are not
houses made with hands, but houses of flesh and blood: body and soul, and
according to Peter we were bought with the precious blood of Christ, a plan
worked out in the mind of God before He even created the world.
God may have thought up the plan thousands of years ago, but He’s still
working that plan, and today I want to share it with you again by reminding
you of some of its key points.
All Our Houses Are Ugly (Compared to Christ’s House)
Paul said it this way in Romans 3:23:
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” ---Romans 3:23
How do I know I’m a sinner? It’s not by looking at the man or woman next to
me, but by looking at the glory of the God embodied in the person of Jesus
Christ. Jesus was perfect in every way! Holy and righteous and just!
Sometimes when I see our billboard I wonder what exactly an ugly house is.
This week I went to the website to find out. Here’s what they said in short:
Our definition of an "Ugly" house is (a) property that has structural issues,
and which issues are regularly not apparent on the surface of the property,
such as foundation problems; (b) property which raises memories that the
owner desires to move away from, (c) property where the owner views the
nature of the neighborhood in which the property is located as less than
desirable from any standpoint, including, for example, such things as
commuting distance to work, located within a flood plain or located in a high
crime area, (d) property whose current mortgage financing is structured in a
manner that the owner does not like; (e) property whose current mortgage
financing rate is higher than the owner desires or can afford; (f) property in
which the amount of the current mortgage is more than the owner can
handle or just does not want to deal with; and (g) property from which an
owner would like to move for any other reason, including, for example,
wanting to move to a bigger house or needing to move to a smaller house or
to another city.
I couldn’t have said it any better! Think about what it means to be without
Christ, ugly with sin. We are houses with structural issues beginning at the
foundation. Jesus said that unless our lives are built upon Him we’re like the
foolish man who built his house on the sand. Your life may be wrecked with
bad memories: choices and decisions that have left a wake of guilt and
shame. Perhaps there is something there that is less than desirable.
Whether you know it or not, you can’t afford to stay in the condition you’re
in – the cost is too high and you’ll pay for eternity with your soul.
I don’t care how great you think you are, without Jesus Christ as your Savior
you fall short of the glory of God and are in need to salvation. That’s why
the second point is such great news…
The Ugliest Houses Can be Purchased
Too often we’re guilty of quoting Romans 3:23 without reading the context.
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” ---Romans 3:23
In Romans 1 Paul stated in no uncertain terms that man is at his best filled
with unrighteousness. But like today, there were some who would read his
letter, look at all the sins Paul mentioned, then would stand back and judge
themselves better than those vile people. In Romans 2:1 he says to those
“You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for
at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because
you who pass judgment do the same things.” ---Romans 2:1
Romans 3:9 says that all are under sin:
“What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have
already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. As it
is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;” ---Romans 3:9-10
You see, “there is none righteous, no, not one person.” And then in Verse 19:
“Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under
the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held
accountable to God.” ---Romans 3:19
We read that the whole world stands guilty before God, and there’s no
amount of good things you can do to make yourself right before God. Think
of it this way: you pull into a parking lot in your rusted out old clunker and
park next to a brand new car; detailed and shiny – you think to yourself that
maybe if you would just get enough Bondo and paint perhaps your car could
look like the new one. But you know that no amount of bonding and paint
would cause your car to measure up to the new one.
The same is true of your life. Verse 20:
“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the
law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.” ---Romans 3:20
In other words, there’s not a thing in the world you can do to make yourself
measure up to the glory of God. We all fall short.
That’s why verse 24 is so wonderful!
“…and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by
Christ Jesus.” ---Romans 3:24
We all fall short of God’s glory. We all are sinners. We are all on our best
days just ugly houses. But Jesus has made possible the redemption of the
whole world! One of my favorite verses in the whole Bible is 1 Timothy 4:10:
“This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we
labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the
Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.” ---1 Timothy 4:10
In other words, when Jesus died on the cross, God didn’t drive through the
neighborhood and pick out the houses He wanted to buy. “I’ll take this one
and that one, but not those over there.” No! He bought them all! He paid the
price to redeem us all! Jesus died for all of humanity, but only those who
believe…those who put their faith in Him will benefit from that purchase.
Don’t you ever forget that every soul in hell goes there with a Savior they
would not accept.
Does God buy ugly houses? Even the ugliest! But listen…
Jesus Moves in to Your Ugly House
The Bible takes up this subject again in 1 Corinthians 6:9-20.
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?”
---1 Corinthians 6:9
Then in verse 11:
“And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were
sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by
the Spirit of our God.” ---1 Corinthians 6:11
Paul then makes an appeal to the believers there to live like those who had
been redeemed. Drop down to verse 19:
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in
you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were
bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”
---1 Corinthians 6:19-20
When Jesus bought your house, when He paid your sin debt and you accepted
Him as your Savior, He didn’t purchase you and sell you off to the next
highest bidder. He moved in Himself! He lives in you! That ought to mean
something to us, that the God of all glory would take up residency in our
souls and live within us!
The Master Architect of the universe, the Creator of heaven and earth, the
supernatural carpenter of Galilee bought you, the ultimate fixer-upper,
moved in and began a good work of re-creation in you!
Your Ugly House Is Now a Mission
2 Corinthians 5:17-19 tells us that:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the
new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through
Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling
the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he
has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” ---2 Corinthians 5:17-19
How does that work? It works like it did in Andrew’s life. Jesus moved into
his life, and the Bible tells us that Andrew first found his own brother and
brought him to Jesus. Then in John 4 Jesus moved into the Samaritan
woman’s life and the Bible says that she went right back into her own
neighborhood and testified to the grace of God to all she knew. What was
the result? They came to know Jesus as their Lord, too! When Jesus healed
the demon possessed man in the country of the Gadarenes, the Bible tells us,
“Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how
much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” So the
man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done
for him. And all the people were amazed.” ---Mark 5:19-20
That’s just how God works! Jesus didn’t buy you, move into your life just to
settle you into a pew. He saved you, redeemed you so He might begin to work
out of your house to redeem your entire block: your family, your friends,
your neighbors, your co-workers and anyone else He can reach through your
life. You’ve been called to the ministry my friend! The ministry of
reconciliation! God has a work to do through your life surrendered to Him.
Your life is God’s center for a great mission work. Don’t let Jesus move in
and then lock Him in.
Aren’t you thankful today that God paid the price to buy an ugly people like
us? Without Christ we’re all ugly with sin, but thanks be to Him that He can
redeem the most uninhabitable souls, take up residency in them and begin to
work outward from there to reach those around us.
No matter how long I live in our house and work on it, I’ll always look around
and find things that need to be repaired and updated. It’s a never ending
job. My life isn’t much different. Until my dying day there’ll be remodeling
Christ will have to do to bring me into His likeness. But unlike my house, I
have a say in it. If I want to take out a wall or put in a new window, the house
just sits there and lets me, but all too often you and I fight and resist the
changes God wants to do in our lives.
Are you allowing God to do the good work in your life He wants to do? Are
you still growing and changing and being conformed to His likeness? Are your
growing in love and grace and mercy? Are you being renewed day by day? Are
you fresh and alive with the presence of God? Does your life reflect the
presence of the sweet Spirit of God?
God buys ugly houses. Have you put your ”ugly house” on the market? Do you
recognize today that you are in need of a Savior? A Redeemer? Would you
come to Him today and allow Him to move into your life?