1 Timothy 4:1-16
There are "good" ministers, and then there are "bad" ministers:
· GOOD MINISTERS (1 Cor. 3:5; 2 Cor. 6:4-10; 11:12-28; Eph. 3:7; 6:21; Col. 1:23-25; 1 Thess. 3:2-3).
· BAD MINISTERS (2 Cor. 11:15; Ezek. 34:1-10; John 10:12-13).
A good minister knows what is important and what is not important. Paul instructs Timothy in the things that he should give priority to.
Note the phrase "THESE THINGS" (vs. 6, 11, 15). There are the things that Timothy needed to pay attention to if he was going to be a good minister:

I. A good minister EXPOSES apostasy (4:1-6 cf. 2 Tim. 4:2).

· APOSTASY-"The faith" is the revealed body of truth (the Scriptures). Apostasy is "falling away" from the faith. Apostasy arises from WITHIN the church (Acts 20:28-31). An example of apostasy is Demas (Philemon 24 cf. 2 Timothy 4:10). See also 2 Tim. 4:3-4; Luke 18:8; 2 Thess. 2:3.
This apostasy is directly related to "the mystery of godliness" (3:16).
A. CAUSE of apostasy (v. 1).
1. "Seducing spirits"
2. "Doctrines of devils"
B. CHARACTERISTICS of apostasy (vs. 2-5).
1. Speak lies in hypocrisy
2. "Cauterized spirit" (cf. 3:9).
3. Marriage is forbidden.
4. Abstinence from meats (vs. 4-5 cf. Col. 2:16). If you can in good conscience ask God's blessings upon what you are about to eat or drink, it is OK to eat it (Rom. 14:23; 1 Cor. 10:25-31; Col. 3:17).
C. COUNTERACTING apostasy (v. 6).
1. Nourishment from God's Word (Mt. 4:4; 1 Pet. 2:2).
2. Nourishment from good doctrine. The purpose of doctrine is to show the believer what is so, and what is not so.
3. Reject anything that cannot be documented from God's Word (v. 7a).
· "Profane" fables
· "Old wives' fables" (cf. 1:4; Tit. 1:14; 3:9)- Theosophy; Seventh Day Adventist; Christian Science have one thing in common: They all had hysterical, neurotic women as their founders. Mary Baker Eddy (Christian Science); Ellen G. White (7th Day Adventist); Madame Helena Petrova Blavatsky (Theosophy); Elizabeth Claire Prophet (Church Universal and Triumphant).

II. A good minister EXHORTS to Godly exercise (4:7-11).

· The only exercise some people get is JUMPING to conclusions; RUNNING down the church; SIDE-STEPPING responsibility; PUSHING their luck.
A. The PRIORITY of godly exercise (v. 7-"…exercise thyself RATHER unto godliness"). Spiritual exercise is more important than physical exercise.
B. The PROFIT of godly exercise (v. 8). Paul is not putting down physical exercise. "Bodily exercise" profits only a little because you're only going to have a physical body "a little while" (Ps. 37:10; James 4:14). On the other hand, "godliness" will profit for eternity ("that which is to come").
Since "the body is for the Lord" and is the temple of the Holy Ghost (1 Cor. 6:13-20), we should take care of it. But we should not overly emphasize the physical body itself, but the godliness that is manifested from within the body.
C. The PERFORMING of godly exercise (vs. 9-10). The performance of godly exercise will involve two things that will bear on eternity:
1. LABORING for eternity (John 6:27).
2. SUFFERING reproach (Cf. 2 Tim. 3:12).

III. A good minister is ESTEEMED highly (4:12-16).

To "despise" is to show disrespect. If a congregation does not respect you, you will not be able to "save" them (v. 16).
A. LEAD (v. 12). You lead by being an example.
1. In word (by what you say). See 1 Cor. 2:1, 4; 2 Cor. 3:12; 11:6; 2 Tim. 1:13; Titus 2:1, 8; Col. 4:6.
2. In conversation (how you behave and the company you keep). See 1 Peter 3:1-2
3. In charity (being unselfish). 1 Cor. 13
4. In spirit (your attitude / zeal / enthusiasm). See Col. 3:23; Eccl. 9:10.
5. In faith (faithfulness to God).
6. In purity (staying morally clean).
B. READ (v. 13). "Give attendance to…" means "devote yourself to." Leaders are readers.
C. FEED (v. 13). Be an encourager; helpful (cf. 2 Tim. 4:2; Rom. 12:6-8). Be practical in your teaching and preaching.
D. HEED (vs. 14-16).
1. CONSIDER those who ordained you (v. 14 cf. 2 Tim. 1:6, 14). I am the product of other preachers who have iinvested part of their life in me.
2. CONTEMPLATE on the ministry - Be a thinker / planner (v. 15 cf. Josh. 1:8). Meditate about what how you can fulfill your ministry.
3. COMMIT yourself - Be dedicated-Apply yourself (v. 15-"give thyself WHOLLY to them"). Don't be lazy.
4. Be CAUTIOUS (v. 16). The preacher is to "take heed" that the doctrine he teaches matches how he is living-self confrontation; self-examination; judge yourself (Acts 20:28; Mt. 7:1-5; 1 Cor. 11:28-31; Gal. 6:4; 2 Cor. 13:5; 2 John 8).
5. CONTINUE in these things (v. 16). Keep on, keeping on! DON'T QUIT!

CONCLUSION: "…that thy PROFITING may appear to all" (v. 15). "Profiting" is used in the same sense as in 1 Corinthians 12:7 (cf. v. 8). It means progressing. A good minister is growing spiritually and in his knowledge of the Scriptures. As people enjoy the "profiting" of a pianist who practices his piano; a congregation will notice the "profiting" of a pastor who spends time in the Word.
A pastor cannot give his congregation what he doesn't possess himself- "Such as I have, give I thee…" (Acts 3:6). The "profiting" of the pastor should be an example to all towards spiritual growth. A church that is not "profiting" is indicative of a pastor that is not "profiting."

Sermon Outline by PASTOR AL HUGHES, April, 2001 (Bible Baptist Church, Port Orchard, WA)