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A Complete Education

April 29, 2012

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This is my sermon from April 29, 2012 (Easter III), in honor of our high school graduates from Peoria Church, Dylan Eckelbarger, Deryn Johnson, Abbey Robison, and Allen Stone.

Epistle: I Peter 2:11-17

Gospel: John 16:17-22

Today, we honor a group of young men and women who have completed high school. It’s more than completing 13 years of classroom work. It’s more than mastering the Three ‘R’s. It’s a rite of passage in our society. Here are some requirements based on the Indiana Department of Education requirements for a Core 40 Diploma:

8 Credits of English/Language Skills – literature, composition and speech: 4 Credits of Math: 4 Credits of Science; 4 Credits of Social Science – government, U.S. History: 3 Credits of Physical Education and Health; and 6 Credits of Career Readiness. There’s also room for 11 “flex credits” and electives.

This is the basis of a good education.

  • Language skills teach you to communicate in the larger world – using your mouth and your mind to share ideas, dreams, hope, to communicate thoughts
  • Math skills are the science of logic – your brain aspires to make sense of thing and math, geometry, algebra and calculus are the means to that end
  • Science teaches us about the wonderful world where we live – Biology, the study of living things; Geology, the study of the earth; Chemistry, the study of how things work
  • Social studies are insights into how society functions – government, institutions, culture, and the world

In addition to that, in these 13 years you’ve been involved with:

  • Sports
  • Choirs
  • Bands
  • Plays
  • Social groups, dances, proms, etc.

There have been people influencing you, teaching you, coaching you, encouraging you: teachers, coaches, mentors, Sunday School teachers, 4-H Leaders, and more. Sadly, there have also been people dragging you down. I don’t need to mention names: you know who I mean.

All these things – your entire 13 years of education – are irreplaceable.

But they are incomplete without God. The Bibles we presented you today can be just another book on your shelf. Just one more text book, just another manual, one more graduation gift. But your Bible is a lot like the 13 years of education you’re completing: what you do with it matters.

What you do with your Bible matters. What I want to encourage you about today is to understand that what you hold in that Bible is the completion of your education:

  • To your language skills, you will learn in the Bible that speech and communication are a gift from God and how you use your words reflects your relationship with Him – Luke 6:45 – “out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks”
  • Math and logic are the pursuits of truth and in your Bible you will learn that there is only One Who is the Truth – Jesus Christ. All other Truth revolves around Who Jesus Christ is
  • The wonderful world of science is unfathomable without knowing Who created it all – God is the Giver of Life, He is the maker of the heavens, the Key Element in the basic chemistry of lift. The Bible is the “schoolmaster” that brings us to Christ – Galatians 3:24
  • How society functions is meaningless unless you know how to function as a man or woman – the Bible is your guidebook to what is right and wrong, how to make wise decisions, and how to live a Godly life – Trust in the Lord with all your heart… – Proverbs 3:5,6

In the front of the Bibles you were given this morning is this verse from Psalm 119:105: “Your word is a lamp unto my feet, a light unto my path.” Like a flashlight in a dark room, your Bible will show you: where danger is, how to avoid stubbing your toe, help you find what you’re looking for.

Education is not bad. In fact, education is a good thing. Your whole life should be a time of learning. It should never end; but learning without God is incomplete. Too often people act as if the Bible competes with education or that the Bible undermines education OR they act as if learning undermines the Bible.

In reality, the Bible and learning go hand-in-hand. However, the Bible is different from the other books you’ve read the last 12 years. It’s not like the text books that go out of date, or the assigned reading you may have had tro drudge through.

The Bible is a living book. The same Holy Spirit that inspired the writers of Scripture is the same Holy Spirit who called you to have faith in Jesus Christ in the first place. The guidance of the Bible is as effective for you today as it was for King David and King Solomon, for the prophets and the apostles, for Christians in the first century, the tenth century, and today.

The Bible is the Book of the Holy Spirit. We understand that we are more than just our body and our mind. You are a living soul. Your soul is the place that God’s Holy Spirit dwells.

A) It is important to nurture your body – good eating, healthy habits, exercise, etc. BUT – your body will fail you: by the time you’re 30 you’ll look back and say, “I wish I could run, shoot, pass, have the energy I had in high school.”

B) It is important to take care of your mind – don’t stop reading, learning, expanding, seeing things differently. BUT – your mind is limited. As you age, it becomes more difficult to retain ideas. Without exercising your mind, learning new things becomes more difficult. You know the old saying: “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

C) On the other hand, your soul is forever. You are made to walk with God. From the moment of conception until the day you die, God seeks your presence.

You are made in God’s image. Your face has changed since those first baby pictures until now, and it will change more over the next 70 years but your soul remains firmly etched with the image of God.

Your soul is the core of your being. It is where you find freedom in Christ, it is where you find healing of your life, forgiveness of your sins, rest from the work of the day, peace with your neighbors.

The Bible will nurture and care for your soul in ways that no other book, no preacher, no person, no lecture, no musician, no drug, no other experience can give.

Today, I challenge you to complete your education:

– Discover your Bible, then rediscover it, and rediscover it, for the rest of your life

– Dedicate yourself to the care of your soul as much as you make plans for the future and your life after high school

– Decide today that your life will be a full and complete life because you will follow Jesus Christ, the Living Word of God, who is revealed to you in your Bible

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2 Comments
  1. Such good advice that one can only pray will be taken to heart.

    • Thanks Sara – I think a lot of it will be. They’re still young, though. I’m sure they’ll struggle, like all of us do in those years, but when it’s all said and done, I believe they’ll land in a good place… in God’s care 🙂

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