Title:  A piece of paper


Summary:  In thinking about various completions and graduations in life, like everything else, we need to understand them through a biblical worldview, which means we are becoming what the Bible often calls "wise men" in order to build, create, and serve in various areas of life to fulfill God's purposes in his design, and not our own.


Know:  All proficiency and education gained is to be to serve God, which is not limited to Sunday services


Feel:  Compelled to excellence to please God


Do:  Reflect on the biblical meaning and purposes of skill, wisdom, and education and how this fulfills the purposes of God that he created us to fulfill.  Reflect on that various ways we fulfill his purposes in our various activities throughout the day, month, and year.


Text:  Various


Scripture Reading:  2 Tim 1:8-9



1.  Time of year that people are completing a phase of training and education

            a.  Some complete a semester, some a program, some a school

            b.  For some it is Middle School, High School, College, Military, Training

            c.  I have participated and watched many over the years

                        - My sister's Wee School graduation

                        - My brother graduating 8th from Plattsmouth Christian Academy

                        - Stacey graduating with her master's degree

                        - My own military graduation

            d.  Many here have graduated in one way or another, or are working for it

2.  What is it all for?  A certificate of some sort?

            a.  Someone said - "I not interested in doing all that for piece of paper"

            b.  Is that what this is all about?  A piece of paper?

                        - If so, then it is not worth much

                        - What is a piece of paper worth anyway?  Fraction of a cent?

            c.  Do you realize that most of us work for paper?

                        - It is green paper - money

                        - The paper itself is not worth a lot

                        - The value is what the paper represents - a lot of work and labor

                        - Your work converted to paper, carried with you

            d.  Value of certificate, diploma, not in the paper, but what it represents

                        - Diploma says you achieved a certain level of learning

                        - B.A., M.A., PhD - You have achieved certain level of learning

                        - Certificate, Certification - Have achieved a level proficiency

                        - In Air Force, I had journeyman certificate, PME certificate, etc.

3.  Back to the question - What is all of this really for?

            a.  To get a job?  More proficiency?  Advance in career?  Make money?

            b.  There are often many, many answers

            c.  What should be the answer for a Christian?

4.  Like everything else, there is a God given purpose behind everything

            a.  What is the purpose of gaining that piece of paper you are working for?

            b.  Important thing to remember:  We don't create purpose, we discover it

            c.  We will spend time reflecting on the purpose of education, skill & work

            d.  In order to carry it out successfully, we need to understand its purpose


I.  To become a wise person

            A.  In scripture, the term, "wise man" is almost a title, or technical term

                        1.  There are a group of people known as "wise men"

                        2.  It is both a description and a title

            B.  Take a closer look

                        1.  The word used - <kj - Chakam

                                    a.  Definition - Wise Man

                                    b.  What does that make you think of?

                                                - One who can quote wise sayings?

                                                - One who understands people, life, situations?

                                                - One who can give good advice?

                        2.  How the Bible describes "wise men" is wider than this

                                    a.  Ex 31:1-6 - Who is going to build the tabernacle?

                                                - They are called "wise men"

                                                - They have wisdom and understanding in all kinds of

                                                   building and craftsmanship

                                                - "Wise men" were craftsmen, builders, engineers

                                    b.  Dan 2:13-14 - King had "wise men" working for him

                                                - They were educated in some discipline

                                                - It would be like having a college degree

                                                - "Wise men" were certified experts in a field

                                    c.  Prov 1:6 - There was the "Sage," the wisdom teacher

                                                - Purpose was to teach godly wisdom for all of life

                                                - How to make good decisions & be successful

                                                - It was formation of godly character, righteousness,

                                                  wisdom, etc.

                                                - Beginning of wisdom is fear of God - Prov 9:10

                        3.  What this tells us about becoming a "wise man"

                                    a.  It is personal formation

                                    b.  It can involve technical skill and proficiency in a discipline

                                                - You learn grammar, philosophy, rhetoric

                                                - You learn science, mathematics, a skill, a trade

                                                - Whether the humanities or the sciences

                                    c.  It involves moral/spiritual skill and proficiency as well

                                                - This means understanding the larger picture

                                                - This means understanding questions of purpose

                                                - This means understanding how it fits together

                                    d.  Biblically, there is no such thing as values free education

                                                - Every part of life has both a physical and spiritual

                                                  component whether you acknowledge it or not

                                                - Both work together

            C.  ILL:  Analogy of when I used to work on airplanes

                        1.  There were many "specialists" involved

                                    a.  Mechanics - Jet engines, landing gear, hydraulics, etc.

                                    b.  Avionics - Electronics, radio, radar, etc.

                                    c.  Frame workers - Metal workers

                                    d.  Flight crew and mission specialists - Big picture people

                        2.  Everything needed to fit and work together

                                    a.  Without the big picture, things may not work

                                    b.  They can't be separated from each other

                                    c.  It all comes together to support the mission

                        3.  Same with life - There is by God's design a purpose and mission

                                    a.  Education is to help fulfill that mission and purpose

                                    b.  It is personal formation to fulfill God's purposes

                                                - It involves technical fitness

                                                - It involves moral fitness

                                                - It involves spiritual fitness

                                                - All of these are inseperable

                                    c.  If not results can be disasterous

                        4.  C.S. Lewis - "Education without values, as useful as it is, seems

                             rather to make man a more clever devil."

                                    a.  All of the Hitlers and Stalins of the world have proven this

                                    b.  We have seen the tyranny of values free education at

                                          work time after time in human history

            D.  Remember - True education begins with God

                        1.  If going to be a true "wise person" you begin with God

                        2.  Bible says, beginning of wisdom is - "Fear of the Lord"

                        3.  Understand this important truth:  Your education, even if at a so

                              called "secular" institution is part of a larger picture

                                    a.  Don't let the world dupe you into compartmentalizing it

                                    b.  The physical and the spiritual go hand in had

                                    c.  The spiritual gives meaning and guidance to the physical


II.  To Understand Principles for Life's Pursuits

            A.  Need to know basic principles for any discipline, any field

                        1.  Whether builder, engineer, technician, mechanic

                        2.  Social work, psychology, counseling, law enforcement

                        3.  Teaching, providing a service, etc.

            B.  Can boil it down to three very basic principles

                        1.  Build on a solid foundation

                                    a.  In building any part of life, you start with solid foundation

                                    b.  Every legitimate discipline has a biblical foundation

                                    c.  Ps 24 - Earth is the Lords, and all it contains

                                                - God is the builder and designer of life

                                                - He has left a manual for us with principles for life

                                                - 1 Cor 3:11 - Only one foundation, which is Christ

                                                - Makes sense, he is the designer and creator of life

                                    d.  Many education programs do not build on this foundation

                                                - Many blindly accept the shaky false foundations

                                                - It is up to you to reject it and build your life, career,

                                                  education on God's solid foundation

                        2.  Build with good building materials (1 Cor 3:10-11)

                                    a.  Paul use building analogy for ministry

                                    b.  Underlying principle applies to anything you build

                                                - Be careful how you build

                                                - Be a wise master builder

                                                - Recognize the good building material & bad

                                                - Some will not last, some will endure

                                    c.  All of us are builders in some way

                                                - We build our life, our career

                                                - Take part in some way to build society

                                                - Build family, build a legacy to pass on

                                                - We are building blocks in the Kingdom of God

                                    d.  Remember - Use only the material and design from God

                                                - Anything else will fail

                                                - Honor the design

                        3.  Honor the blueprint

                                    a.  When you build, you need to follow the blueprint

                                    b.  (Prov 8:22-31) - Reflect Wisdom of God in Life's Design

                                                - Wisdom was there during creation

                                                - What was she doing?  v.30 - Master workman

                                                - In other words, the is the design architect

                                                - Proverbs tells us that there is both a physical design

                                                  and a moral design to the universe

                                    c.  Like everything else, there are design limitations

            C.  ILL:  Have you every had to deal with design limitations before?

                        1.  What happens if you don't honor design limitations?

                        2.  Sugar gives you energy right?  Why not use in gas tank?

                                    a.  Engine not designed to run on sugar

                                    b.  You will ruin the engine if you try to do so

                        3.  Gasoline burns?  What not use it in a kerosene lantern?

                                    a.  Lantern not designed to used gasoline

                                    b.  May blow up in your face if you use gasoline

                        4.  Screw driver is a tool?  Use it to hammer things in?

                                    a.  Not designed to hammer

                                    b.  May wind up ruining the tool and the thing hammered

            D.  There is a design limitation to everything in life

                        1.  Many have rejected them

                                    a.  Two men love each other - Let them get married

                                    b.  Use unborn human beings for scientific research

                                    c.  Take money from those with more give to those with less

                        2.  Understand there is a design to everything in life

                                    a.  For marriage, family, government, education, social work,

                                         psychology, medicine, law enforcement, etc.

                                    b.  You likely not find this in state schools

                                    c.  Up to you to learn it from God in his word

                        3.  Honor the blueprint, start with foundation, careful how you build


III.  To apply God's principles to all of life

            A.  The Bible is not just for church on Sunday

                        1.  Our Lord didn't just create the church

                        2.  In the beginning, he created the heavens and the earth

            B.  Remember what it means to be the church

                        1.  You don't become Christian to go to church, you are the church

                        2.  The church has been sent into the world

                                    a.  The world doesn't know God

                                    b.  The world is separated from God due to sin

                                    c.  The world is in need of two things:

                                                - Redemption - It is separated from God due to sin

                                                - Reformation - It has been twisted & sickened by sin

                                    d.  God sends church into the world to fulfill these purposes

                                                - Redemption comes through sharing of the Gospel

                                                            = Forgiveness of sins through the Gospel

                                                            = Power of sin is destroyed

                                                - Reformation comes through transformation

                                                            = Here we discover God's design and purpose

                                                            = In family relationships

                                                            = In our work - Build society that honors God

                                                            = Move toward the beauty, goodness, holiness

                                                                of the original creation

            C.  You build, create, serve to fulfill God's purposes, not your own

            D.  (1 Tim 1:9) God called us not according to our works, but his purpose. 

                  As the church. . .

                        1.  You are the city set on a hill, Mt 5:14-16

                        2.  You are the salt of the earth,

                        3.  You are the light of the world

                        4.  What does it mean to be the city on a hill, salt, light, as

                                    a.  Teacher, doctor, nurse, banker, politician, writer,

                                          technician, officer, mechanic, engineer, etc.

                                    b.  Reflect on this question often through your study

                                    c.  Reflect on this question often as you work



1.  That piece of paper comes with a huge God-given responsibility

            a.  What are you going to be building with it?  For whom?  Why?

            b.  Remember we need to build on a solid foundation

2.  Ps 127 - Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it

3.  What are you building your life on right now? What foundation? (inv)

4.  If you have already done this, then remember

            a.  As a "wise person" and educated, trained person, you serve God

            b.  Honor his design, his blueprint, even if your instructors don't

            c.  When you do, the result will be something firm, dependable


Small Group Notes:  A piece of paper


Summary:  In thinking about various completions and graduations in life, like everything else, we need to understand them through a biblical worldview, which means we are becoming what the Bible often calls "wise men" in order to build, create, and serve in various areas of life to fulfill God's purposes in his design, and not our own.




- What school, program, or training did you receive the most satisfaction from in completing?





1.  According to Genesis 1-2, Mankind's original purpose was to "have dominion" over the earth, to "be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth" and to be "caretaker" or "keeper" of God's creation.  How do mankind's various occupations, such as doctor, writer, artisan, architect, clothes maker, etc. contribute toward these purposes?


2.  How did sin affect man in carrying out God's purposes?


3.  What new purpose has been added due to the entrance of sin into the world? 

      2 Cor 5:18-20


4.  How does the Gospel fit into God's purpose?  What place does the church have in it?


5.  How do concepts such as stewardship, transformation, redemption, restoration, fit into God's plan for man?  How do they fit into a Christians daily work?





6.  How does your job, education, and work fit into God's purposes?


7.  How does this group, and this congregation fit into God's purposes?


8.  What are some ways you can more faithfully fulfill God's purposes?





(Have a good summer!)