Summary: Just like there are many do's and don'ts in life, there are also many do's and don'ts in ministry. In 1 Timothy 4, Paul pointed out to Timothy a number of do's and don'ts of ministry.


A. There are many “do’s and don’ts” in life.

1. When we buy a new product it often comes with important labels that give us do’s and don’ts.

2. Here are a few:

a. Do Use Like Regular Soap – I wonder how a person uses irregular soap?

b. Do Not Eat Toner – When was the last time you thought about eating toner?

c. Do Not Use While Sleeping – Have you ever been so tired that you fell asleep blow-drying your hair? Don’t take it to bed with you like a heating blanket.

d. Do Remove Child Before Folding – Do you really need to be told that? Everybody knows it just doesn't fold as compactly if the child is still in it.

e. Do Not Use a Lit Match or Open Flame to Check Fuel Level – Can you imagine someone thinking it’s dark down in that gas tank, I think I will light a match and see what the gas level is?

B. Just like there are many do’s and don’ts in life, there are also many do’s and don’ts in ministry.

1. But the warning labels for ministry are not out where we can easily spot them, but they are found in God’s word.

C. And here’s something important to think about: Excellence in ministry requires more than merely avoiding the wrong; it demands that we also embrace the right.

1. And this actually applies to any worthwhile endeavor.

2. The boxer in training must do more than avoid smoking, drinking and eating donuts.

a. He must also run, skip rope, and log many bruising hours in the sparring ring.

3. Or what about the successful business person?

a. They don’t just minimize bad decisions; they make lots of good ones.

b. They think ahead, research the market, and take calculated risks.

4. So, what is true in business and athletics is also true in ministry.

a. There are practices any minister needs to steer clear of while at the same time he also must pursue the right things with enthusiasm and tenacity.

D. Today, as we look at what Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4, we see that Paul was pointing out to Timothy some of the “do’s and don’ts” of ministry.

1. I believe that these things apply not only to ministers, but to every Christian.

2. Let’s explore these important aspects of life and ministry, and see how to apply them to our lives.

3. One interesting thing I want us to notice is that as Paul presented these do’s and don’t, he alternated between the negative and positive exhortations.

E. But before we get to those do’s and don’ts of ministry that start in verse 6, let’s see how Paul sets the stage for them in verses 1-5.

1. Paul wrote: 1 Now the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and the teachings of demons, 2 through the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared. 3 They forbid marriage and demand abstinence from foods that God created to be received with gratitude by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 since it is sanctified by the word of God and by prayer. (1 Tim. 4:1-5)

2. Chapter 3 ended with a glorious passage about what the church is and who Christ is.

3. We might wish that we could remain in the sunlight on the spiritual mountain top of those glorious truths, and we must keep those truths at the forefront of our minds and hearts.

a. But life is lived out in the real world of spiritual darkness where people depart from the faith and fall for the teaching of demons that comes through hypocritical liars.

4. Paul said that the Spirit warned that this would happen in “later times”but any time beyond Paul’s time qualifies as a “later time.”

a. And even though Paul was concerned about the future, he was also concern about the false teachers who were already present in Ephesus and had told Timothy to correct them.

5. In verses 3-5, Paul described something of the perversions being peddled by the false teachers.

a. Paul mentioned two false teachings in order to illustrate his point and they had to do with marriage and food.

b. At first glance, these topics may seem relatively unimportant, but they relate to the basic appetites of the human body which God has created and are good.

c. Both false doctrines seem to tie in with the mistaken belief that the material world was evil, which was a central belief of the growing Gnostic movement.

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