Summary: This is the final in a series exploring the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, and the "advantage" Jesus said He would be leaving with us. This message explores the fruit of the Spirit.
(For this sermon, a very large bowl of fruit was placed front and center on the stage. Large enough that it was noticed immediately when people came in for worship. It was utilized as an ’active’ prop during the message.)
The words of John 16 should be familiar to you by now. Jesus is sharing with his disciples, possibly on the very night he was to be betrayed, and He begins to teach them about the Holy Spirit. Let’s look at these words together one more time. John 16. (Read John 16:1-14)
On the basis of those words, we have been exploring this “advantage” of the Holy Spirit. We have looked at who the Holy Spirit is. What the Holy Spirit does, some of His activities throughout the Word of God, and all history. We have looked at the spiritual birthday gifts which the Holy Spirit blesses us with for the common good of the body of Christ.
And today, we want to look at one more advantage in the life of the believer brought about by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. As you might have guessed from this visually tempting display, a very fruitful advantage.
Turn with me, and let’s look at the words that Paul writes in Galatians 5. Galatians 5:16 (read through verse 23). The famous passage on “the fruit of the Spirit.” The fruitful advantage of Jesus living, dying, rising again, ascending to heaven, and sending us His Holy Spirit to dwell with us and in us. The fruit of the Spirit.
I personally, really enjoy eating fruit. And the older I get, the more I learn about the advantages of including a healthy portion of fruit in my diet. For example, did you know that one cup of strawberries gives you 140% of your daily recommended vitamin C. Strawberries. That beats broccoli and spinach. (Eat a strawberry). And tastes a whole lot better. Not to mention strawberries are a huge source of fiber. Yes, I have reached the age where I have to actually worry about such things as fiber.
How about an apple? An apple a day keeps the doctor away, right? (Take a bite of an apple) A medium apple is about 70 calories, and contains no fat, no sodium, and no cholesterol. All while giving you 20% of your daily recommended fiber intake. (Take another bite) Sure beats Metamucil. Right?
Or how about one of my favorites. The banana. (Begin eating a banana, and eat throughout section on bananas) You know, research has shown that two bananas provide enough energy for a 90 minute strenuous workout session. Just two bananas. When you compare the banana to the apple. The banana has four times the protein, and five times the vitamin A and iron.
But did you know that a banana does not grow on a tree. In fact, it is an herb. Rather than growing on trees, it is actually a fruit-bearing flower stalk that is tightly wrapped in leaves. In fact, you can eat the bloom, the flower, but then you would obviously not get any bananas.
The banana is actually a cousin to the spice, ginger. Listen to some of these things the banana helps with:
Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana. This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.
Just think about it. Have you ever seen a depressed monkey? Of course not.
Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure. So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has allowed the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit’s ability to reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.
Speaking of strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine, eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by strokes by as much as 40%! Anybody want one now?
Constipation: Including bananas in the diet can help. . .never mind.
Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body, so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.
Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over- chronicler cases. It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.
Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.
Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.