"THE FIRST EPISTLE TO TIMOTHY"
The Christian's Diet (4:3-5)
INTRODUCTION 1. A feature common to many religions are their dietary restrictions... a. Some are known for their vegetarianism (e.g., Hinduism) b. Others for their restrictions against certain meats, such as pork (e.g., Islam, Judaism) 2. In warning against apostasy, the apostle Paul... a. Foretold the rise of doctrines restricting certain foods - 1Ti 4: 1-3 b. Described the general principles related to the Christian's diet- 1Ti 4:3-5 3. The general principles of "The Christian's Diet" can be stated in this way... a. All creatures are good (for food) if received with thanksgiving b. All foods are "sanctified" by the Word of God and prayer [The word "sanctified" means to be "set apart, holy". In what way has God sanctified all foods, and are there any exceptions to the rule? First we note that all foods have been...] I. SANCTIFIED BY THE WORD OF GOD A. FOODS DECLARED CLEAN... 1. By God a. At the Creation, God gave His approval to seed-bearing herbs and trees - Gen 1:29 b. After the flood, moving things were approved as food, with one restriction - Gen 9:3-4 c. During the Mosaic period, dietary restrictions were placed on Israel - cf. Deut 14:4-21 2. By Jesus a. Jesus kept the Law of Moses while it was still in effect - cf. Mt 5:17-19 b. But His teachings often looked forward to when the Law would cease - Mk 7:18-19 3. By Paul a. Paul's views came from the Lord Jesus Himself - Ro 14:14 b. Thus Christians were free to eat whatever was sold in the meat market - 1Co 10:25 -- The Word of God has thus declared all foods clean; this is the general rule B. EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE... 1. Meat sacrificed to idols a. Christians were forbidden to eat meat when it was part of idol worship, for that would entail fellowship with demons - Re 2:14,20; cf. 1Co 10:18-22 b. But not if sold in the market place and connection to the idol lost - cf. 1Co 10:25-28 2. Blood and things strangled a. Gentile Christians were not to eat blood and things strangled - Ac 15:20,29; 21:25 b. The context suggests this may have been out of consideration for the sensitivities of the Jewish Christians - Ac 15:21; yet cf. Gen 9:4 3. When eaten with offense (e.g., doubt) a. To those who consider something unclean, it is unclean - Ro 14:14 b. It would be evil to eat that which one thinks is unclean - Ro 14:20 c. Unless one can eat without doubt, it is sinful - Ro 14:23 4. When eaten to cause offense (i.e., stumbling) a. If our brother is grieved or destroyed by our food, it is wrong - Ro 14:15-16 b. It is good to abstain rather than cause a weak brother to stumble - Ro 14:20-21; 1Co 8:12-13 c. Our goal is to glorify God, and cause no offense to man - 1Co 10:31-32 -- All things are lawful, but not all things edify and are helpful; we must remember this in regards to our diet - cf. 1Co 10:23-24 [Thus every creature (i.e., all foods) has been sanctified by the Word of God; i.e., declared clean. But we should also stress that which is emphasized by Paul in our text, that the food we eat is also...] II. SANCTIFIED BY PRAYER A. RECEIVED WITH THANKSGIVING... 1. Stressed twice in our text a. Foods were created by God to be received with thanksgiving - 1Ti 4:3 b. Nothing is to be refused if received with thanksgiving - 1Ti 4:4 2. We should be thankful for everything a. We should possess an attitude of gratitude - Ep 5:20; Co 3:17; 1Th 5:18 b. Certainly for our daily bread, for which we are to pray! - cf. Mt 6:11 -- When received with thanksgiving offered in prayer, food is sanctified B. EXAMPLES OF THE RULE... 1. Jesus offering thanks a. When feeding the 4000 - Mt 15:36-38 b. When observing the Last Passover - Lk 22:15-20 2. Paul offering thanks a. On the ship to Rome - Ac 27:35 b. A practice alluded to in his writings - Ro 14:6; 1Co 10:30 -- Paul sought to imitate the Lord, certainly we should imitate them both! - 1Co 11:1 CONCLUSION 1. When it comes to "The Christian's Diet", all foods are sanctified by... a. The word of God b. The prayer of the Christian 2. The exception to the rule is when... a. Fellowship with idols and demons is indicated b. Fellowship with brethren is threatened Have you given thought to how the food you eat affects your fellowship with God and others...?