Fruit Smoothie: Recipe for The Christian Life
Follow the Recipe
October 6, 2019
Intro: I have stated many times that I don’t like to cook. I enjoy making breakfast that consists of eggs, sausage, bacon, pancakes or French toast. I don’t try much else. Now and again I get a little crazy and see something that looks good and decide to try it. I get the recipe and then I see the ingredients. Peppers – no, sour cream – I don’t like that. paprika – don’t have any. Flour – don’t have any. 1% milk – whole milk will work great. Olive oil – vegetable oil will work great. By the time I get done my dish it is nowhere close to the recipe. Not in ingredients, Not in looks and certainly not in taste.
If you like to cook, this tells you way too much about me.
Let me reveal a little more about myself. Here is a healthy smoothie recipe.
Groovy Green Smoothie
1 – cup black seedless grapes- these will do
6 oz – vanilla yogurt – just no
1 cup – chopped apples
1 ½ cups – spinach leaves – not ever in something I drink
I may try – bananas, grapes and apples and ice cubes – but then it is not as healthy and not close to the original recipe.
I’m afraid, that way, too often this is how we look at our relationship with Jesus. We see someone who we admire for their expression of Christian faith and think. “I want to be like them”. We take a look at what they have done to get to that place in their life (i.e. what recipe did they use?) Get up early for a quiet time – just no. Worship every Sunday – how about 60%? Joining a group of believers for Bible study – no time for that. Serving others – how about I give a few dollars and you do it.
When we get done our life looks nothing like theirs and it looks nothing like what Jesus can do in our life. The sad thing about this is that we say, “Well I tried. This is just not for me. I’m out.” No, you didn’t try and don’t give up! Just follow the recipe!!
Find and good recipe and follow it. Today I want to encourage you to follow the recipe that I will share over the next several weeks. The sermon series begins today: Fruit Smoothie: A Recipe for the Christian Life. This is a sermon series on the Fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22-24
Today I want to share the key to a successful Christian Walk. Walk by the Spirit, follow the direction of the Spirit or obey the Holy Spirit’s instructions. We will examine what the Spirit does in our lives but today we have to commit to follow the recipe or follow the instructions of the Holy Spirit.
It is so important that we follow the instructions of the Holy Spirit because we each have a …
The Battle Within
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
The daily battle is between what we ought to do and what we want to do. That is why people describe the devil whispering in one ear and an angel whispering in the other. This battle goes on in believers and unbelievers. The less of a struggle the less convictions and morals. Even with little conviction there is still a battle within.
For believers the battle still wages on. Our flesh continues to try to be in charge in our lives. It is fed by all kinds of influences. Desires, dreams and lusts make us susceptible to the influences that battle against what we know we should do. We want to work hard to meet our needs which leads us to think we can provide all we need by our own effort.
The Spirit in us is leading us to desire to be faithful to the Lord in all we do. To have our dreams to be what would bring glory to God. To trust God for our needs rather than worry if we will have what we need.
Paul was very familiar with this battle.
14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. 20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
He describes it to a “T” for me. Do you identify with this passage?
You may struggle with being faithful to Lord. Almost everyone does. You may struggle with language, pornography, an addictive personality. You may struggle with full blown anger or just being snarky. You may be a serious racist or just think you are better than others. You may have a time-consuming hobby or you just want some time to yourself. These kinds of things lead us away from trusting the Lord.
The end result is that we cannot serve two masters. Paul said that there is a battle going on inside us. To do what is right or to do what is wrong. Jesus says in very clearly in Matthew 6:24.
24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. Matthew 6:24 NASB
A Native-American Christian went to a missionary for counsel. He was very much troubled by the spiritual conflict going on within his heart. He wanted to do what God wanted him to do, but he was frequently disobeying God. He found that he was prone to do evil things, even as he did before he became a Christian.
The native described this conflict within himself as a dogfight. He said to the missionary, “It is as though I have a black dog and a white dog inside me fighting each other constantly.” The black dog, he explained, represented evil and the white dog represented good.
The missionary asked him, “Which dog wins the fight within you?”
After several moments of silence, the native said, “The dog that wins is the one I feed and the dog that loses is the one I starve.”
Paul says it this way in verse 17, The Spirit fights against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.
Let me say something very clear here. The Holy Spirit is God. He is stronger than the desires of our flesh. He is stronger than Satan, too. This battle is ultimately going to be won by the power of God but we need to learn how to trust the Holy Spirit to win the battle in us.
And there is a way to win battles.
The Victory for the Battle
There is a struggle between the old nature and the new nature, the remainders of sin and the beginnings of grace; and this Christians must expect will be their exercise as long as they continue in this world. Matthew Henry (Commentary on Galatians)
Verse 16 begins this way: “walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”
We must follow the lead, or instruction of the Holy Spirit. We need to give the Holy Spirit some ammunition to work with. We do that in prayer, scripture study, and worship.
It was revealed to us through Paul where the victory comes from.
24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Jesus defeated the power of sin. He defeated the power the flesh so that it was no longer about being good enough to receive eternal life. It was not about obeying all of the laws. It is about what Jesus did on the cross.
I watched the first episode of the new season of the Good Place. The Good Place is Really the Bad Place (Hell. But they don’t call it that.) The best I can tell now, is that the leaders in the bad place are trying to help people to be good enough to get out of the bad place into the Good Place. Once again, the show has proved that people can’t be good enough. The person in charge of an experiment to make people better is not succeeding. She said that she is just a girl from Arizona who can’t do the job. Her superior told her she could do it because she was a human. Only a human could help bad people become good. How insightful for the show.
Only someone who was both God and man can help mankind out of their sin problem. He didn’t make bad people better. He allowed sinners to put on Jesus’ righteousness.
for there is now no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; and as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God,” Rom. 8:1-14.
That is why Paul says, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Why? Because Jesus delivered from the judgment of sin and helps us win the battle within.
The Faith for the Battle
Some of you have heard this before and some of you won’t believe it but we walked/ran 2 miles a day during our school days. Uphill both ways. One mile each way. For most all of those days we also had to face dogs who would chase us when we went past their home. The guy who owned the dogs was a bit odd. So, he would not keep the dogs secured. My parents tried to get him to keep the dogs away but the only thing that helped was when the dogs died of old age. We learned to walk quietly, travel in herds or running very fast by this house. We even tried the Wildebeast tactic, where one sibling would draw the attention of the dogs while the others when through unharmed. If Harry Potter was around then, I’m sure we would have tried a Cloak of Invisibility. It was a daily struggle and we survived. Some with a fear of dogs and looking for an opportunity for vengeance.
There is a battle going on for believers every day. Will I do the right thing today or will I not. When does this battle end? Can it be won? The battle will never end. It can be won from day-to-day as we learn to lean and learn to trust.
So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
Paul stated his victory; “Jesus has delivered me.” but also stated that the battle would continue. The walk with Christ is a walk of faith. It takes faith to please God and it takes faith to remain faithful.
John in I John 5:4-5 states it even more clearly than Paul – For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
5 Who is the one who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
Paul dealt with a thorn in his flesh for years. He talked about it in II Corinthians 12:7. We are not sure what the thorn was but we do know that he dealt with it as He trusted in Christ. He said that it was through this thorn that kept him humble before the Lord. Paul said it this way, “God’s grace is sufficient for me.” He trusted Christ to keep the problem in check so that he could still do what the Holy Spirit led him to do.
The battle gets better but through these experiences God keeps us growing until the day that He calls us home. Don’t give up. The Holy Spirit’s instructions will lead us to be faithful in all things.
Challenge: Don’t lose heart. Don’t despair. The battle raging in your life will be won as we follow the instruction and leadership of the Holy Spirit. Jesus won the victory over sin, death and the grave. The victory He won is ours as we live by faith in Jesus our Lord with the indwelling help of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
16 I advise you to obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions. He will tell you where to go and what to do, and then you won’t always be doing the wrong things your evil nature wants you to. 17 For we naturally love to do evil things that are just the opposite from the things that the Holy Spirit tells us to do; and the good things we want to do when the Spirit has his way with us are just the opposite of our natural desires. These two forces within us are constantly fighting each other to win control over us, and our wishes are never free from their pressures.