MISSION: POSSIBLE

Introduction

We are focused on recovery this month because addiction is a huge issue in our country. Our goals in this series are… We seek to find hope in the Gospel.  We seek to remove the stigma of addiction by admitting we are all sinners and we all need help.  We seek to reveal resources available in our community. Addictions have large impact on our community and in the world. The top five most common addictions:

Tobacco (nicotine) Legal, easy to get, and side effects take time to develop, but Tobacco use claims more lives than any other addictive substance. 

Alcohol – 18 million people addicted 

Marijuana – 4.2 million. Rates of marijuana addiction might be growing due to increasing potency.

Painkillers – 1.8 million – drugs like codeine, vicodin, and oxycontin can become addictive. Patients who need them don’t notice they have a problem until they try to stop. They are misused without a prescription.

Cocaine and Heroin

We are grateful for all addiction recovery programs.  “No matter how dark the moment, love and hope are always possible.” — George Chakiris. In our focus on recovery, we should always focus on what is possible. And with God’s help, recovery is always possible. 

1. The Impossible Promise 

God made a glorious promise to Abraham.

The Lord said to Abram: Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you, I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, I will curse anyone who treats you with contempt, and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.

Genesis 12:1-3, CSB

Abraham was one of the greatest men of faith. He waited years for this promise to be fulfilled. He tried to fulfill the promise himself.  He never stopped believing in the promise or in God, but it became an impossible promise. He had traveled to the plains of Mamre and there by some oaks he set up his place to live.  Three men came to see him. We know that they were angels of the Lord, that the Lord spoke through them.  Abraham scrambled to be hospitable. He was old and so was his wife. They had come to grips with the impossible promise.  Message of the Lord:

“Where is your wife Sarah?” they asked him. “There, in the tent,” he answered. The Lord said, “I will certainly come back to you in about a year’s time, and your wife Sarah will have a son!” Now Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent behind him. Abraham and Sarah were old and getting on in years. Sarah had passed the age of childbearing. So she laughed to herself: “After I am worn out and my lord is old, will I have delight?” But the Lord asked Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Can I really have a baby when I’m old?’  Is anything impossible for the Lord? At the appointed time I will come back to you, and in about a year she will have a son.” Sarah denied it. “I did not laugh,” she said, because she was afraid. But he replied, “No, you did laugh.”

Genesis 18:9-15

A profound question was asked: 

Is anything impossible for the Lord? 

Genesis 21:1-7 is the culmination of this promise. 

The Lord came to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the appointed time God had told him. Abraham named his son who was born to him—the one Sarah bore to him—Isaac. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God had commanded him Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Sarah said, “God has made me laugh, and everyone who hears will laugh with me.” She also said, “Who would have told Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne a son for him in his old age.”

Genesis 21:1-7, CSB

Abraham was 100, Sarah was 90, when Isaac born. Way back in Genesis 12 God could have told Abraham that he would be 100 when this promise was going to come to pass! I love Sarah’s assurance that “everyone who hears will laugh with me” (Genesis 21:6). So, it just seems natural to name this newborn son Isaac, which  means he laughs (Genesis 17:19).

Believing in the impossible promises of God is what we do as Christians. And it is what will help us overcome our addictions, struggles, obsessions, thoughts, and actions that are harming ourselves and others. 

Three Things to Remember about God’s Impossible Power

God Never Forgets His Promises. 

Abraham had journeyed many miles since he first heard God’s amazing promise. Yet here he is 100 years old just now seeing it come to pass.

He believed, hoping against hope, so that he became the father of many nation according to what had been spoken: So will your descendants be. He did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body to be already dead (since he was about a hundred years old) and also the deadness of Sarah’s womb. He did not waver in unbelief at God’s promise but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God…

Romans 4:18-20, CSB

As we face the challenges of life we can sometimes think we’re in it alone – and we can sometimes think recovery is impossible – but He is always there. 

“I will never leave you or abandon you.” – Hebrews 13:5

When life becomes unmanageable, believe that there is a God and turn your life over to Him.

God Does Not Reverse His Promises. 

Though some promises of God are conditional in Scripture, He keeps his promises even when we bumble our way on the journey of faith.  Abraham and Sarah were certainly not faultless in their faith, but they continued to believe God would keep His promise somehow.  In spite of their very human capacity of faith, God’s capacity of power was never in danger of failure. All of us have problems going on in our lives, in our minds, in our families, in our behavior, in our speech, in our obsessions, in the substances we refuse to give up (alcohol, drugs, sex, sugar, nicotine, screen time,  gambling, work, porn, etc)?  Though destructive, we allow them to continue to cause issues in our lives.  Maybe we think they are impossible to leave behind. But while we struggle, God stays steady. 

God Is Never Limited By The Difficulty of His Promises. 

Humans always have an out. “I couldn’t help it” or “It was beyond my control” – at some point, we reach the edge of our capability.  God, however, has no end to His capability.  Medically, this is a birth that shouldn’t have happened. God does not have the limitations that are a part of the construct of our lives.

By faith even Sarah herself, when she was unable to have children, received power to conceive offspring, even though she was past the age, since she considered that the one who had promised was faithful. Therefore, from one man—in fact, from one as good as dead—came offspring as numerous as the stars of the sky and as innumerable as the grains of sand along the seashore.

Hebrews 11;11, 12 , CSB

Conclusion

Look to Abraham and Sarah, friends. Is anything impossible for the Lord?  Every week in support group meetings around the world people are finding impossible progress being made in the lives of those willing to turn it all over to a God who loves to make the impossible possible. Every week in churches all around the world people are turning to God asking His help and strength and finding it in Jesus Christ. 

LifeGroup Questions

1. In Genesis 18:1ff, three visitors came to Abraham. He rushed to offer them hospitality. 

*What were some of the offers he made to them? 

*At what point does it appear to you that Abraham knew that this was an appearance of the Lord?

*What can we learn from this part of the story about our attitude and response toward strangers?

*It’s hard not to think of Hebrews 13:1-2. How can the church apply this principle toward the recovery community?

2. When the Lord delivers his message about Sarah’s child being born within a year, the Scripture records that she laughed. 

*How would you characterize that laugh? Some have characterized it as a sarcastic laugh (yeah, right!). How do you see it? 

*Why did Sarah deny it at first? 

*Is the Lord’s response a rebuke or said with a smile? How do you read it?

*How does this relate to the child’s eventual name?

3. The Lord’s response to Sarah’s laugh is, “Is anything impossible for the Lord?” Remember Abraham and Sarah have stumbled along for decades believing an impossible promise. 

* What sometimes robs us of the faith that our  ‘impossible’ prayers have potential to be answered?

*What can give us the faith to continue to believe in prayers that seem impossible?

4. In Genesis 21:1-7 we read the culmination of God’s promise of the birth of a son.  Sarah is very  happy (for now! Don’t read ahead!). She says, “everyone who hears will laugh with me” (vs 6). 

*What are some events in your own spiritual journey that make you smile as you remember them?

*The happiest moment is when someone gives their life to the Lord. For some, even some in recovery, the idea that God could cleanse them of all past sins is too good to  believe. 

– What would you share with someone who wondered if God could forgive them?

– In recovery people sometimes people slip into relapse and fall into the same troubles they had previously escaped. What is the “Gospel” or good news for them?

– Read the following verses and share your initial impressions of what they teach us. Mark 10:27; Luke 1:37, Matthew 17:20, Matthew 26:39.

Resources

Ten Most Common Addictions in America

Statistics on Addiction in America

Reasons People Fail to Overcome Addiction

What makes Twelve-Step Programs Therapeutic?