Christian Recovery? — One pastor correctly pointed out that ALL OF US are “in recovery”! We all have one or more addictions.
• Some people have specific needs — perhaps addiction recovery or divorce recovery. Some are seeking deliverance from drug addiction or sexual addictions, others from porn or alcohol or food habits, still others from internet and online gambling addictions.
• But all of us need to be in God's recovery program — a lifelong process of being changed and conformed more and more to the image of God, from which all of us have fallen due to our sins. We are all in a lifelong process of recovery from addictions to sin!
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.’  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.”
•• “Confident of their own righteousness” — a terribly misplaced confidence.
• This is a big danger for established Christians.
•• As we mature in our walk with the Lord, an unfortunate gap can develop in our minds: “good” (us) ... “bad” (them).
• That was the mistake of the prideful, fasting, tithing Pharisee, who said, “I thank you that I am not like other men.”
• But the fasting tither was not justified in God’s sight; the confessing, repenting sinner was.
Romans 3:9-12 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;  there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.  All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”
•• Ask yourself: Compared to others, “Are we any better?” Answer: “Not at all!”
• We are “all under sin.”
• “There is no one righteous, not even one.” That includes you and me and the apostle Paul! We all need recovery from sin and from the influence upon us of our sin nature.
• “All have turned away.” You, me, the apostle Paul.
• “There is no one who does good, not even one”
• “Is”! Not “was,” but “is no one”
•• Look again: We are not any better ... we are all under sin ... there is no one righteous, no one ... All, including you and me, have turned away ... there is not one who does good, not even one — not the pope, not Billy Graham, not you, not me.
• We are all in recovery! For a lifetime!
• Don’t believe that? Remember Moses, who faltered before God at age 120.
• We are all lifelong “Christians in Recovery.”
Isaiah 64:6All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags...
KJV: ...All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.
•• Ponder that. Your “righteousnesses” = “filthy rags”!
• Isaiah says, including himself, “All of us have become like one who is unclean...”
• Never, never forget Paul’s words, while he was an apostle serving God: “I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, there dwells no good thing.”
• You and I are still in recovery from the lifelong effects of having been born sinful (Psalm 51:5).
1 Timothy 1:15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst.
•• Paul?!! He was the “the worst sinner"? He said so.
• Spiritually mature Paul wrote, concerning sin: “What I hate, I do” (Romans 7:15).
• Spiritually mature Moses lost his temper, acted willfully, and failed to honor God at age 120!
• Spiritually mature Abraham faltered and denied his own wife before a foreign king.
• Imagine walking into an addiction recovery meeting one evening and seeing Abraham, Moses, and the apostle Paul there! Why should that seem unusual? They fought addiction to the same sin nature that we fight.
•• A great motto for each of us would be: “Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst.”
• I, Jim, am a sinner in lifelong rehab. I had a heart attack in 2011, and for nearly four years now I've been working out regularly at the cardiac rehab gym. But the sin nature (mine and yours) is in us from birth. So each one of us needs to experience a lifetime of spiritual rehab from sin's grip, beginning with our coming to Jesus as Lord and Savior.
• Jesus is able to save us sinners! The Bible declares that Jesus "is able to save completely those who come to God through Him" (Hebrews 7:25). Cry out to Jesus for help. Believe in Him. Ask Him to save you — completely!
•• Lord, help us never to develop the tragic attitude of the Laodiceans: “I ... [do] not need a thing.”
• Remember the pit from which the Lord rescued you. Never forget the sinful addictions that caused you so desperately to need a Savior.
• Remember Paul’s words: “I’m not yet perfect, but I press on, I press forward.”
• Remember the great apostle John’s words: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8f).
# This message is not for the perfect man or woman — only Jesus was that.
# This message is for the imperfect sinner — believers like Abraham, Moses, and the apostles Paul, Peter, and John.
# This message is for the imperfect sinner — believers like you and me, who need a never-letting-up program of Christian recovery — from sin! And Jesus Christ is the One ready, willing, and able to help you recover.
# This message is for all of us who are in a lifelong process of being "Christians in Recovery".