Cooperating with God’s Work
J.C. Thompson |
To begin our series, we'll discuss the origin of technology and how we can cooperate with God by using technology for God’s glory.
Cooperating with Gods Work
Lit – A Christian Perspective on Technology – Message 1
April 19, 2020
Communication with God
- We begin a new series entitled, Lit.
- I began brainstorming this series more than 4 months ago to provide encouragement and wisdom on technology’s effect on us.
- I had no idea we would be in the situation that we find ourselves in today with COVID-19, working from home, researching pandemics and hanging onto the report of every newscast.
- The world has changed dramatically in a few short weeks. But the scope of this series remains the same.
- We will begin today by providing an overview of technology and its effect on our relationship with God.
- To begin this series, I think it’s important to give a definition of technology. I’m using this definition from a book entitled From the Garden to the City by John Dyer. Technology is The human activity of using tools to transform God’s creation for practical purposes.
- So while we want to examine things like smartphones and social media we’re asking you to think in a much broader sense. We’re using the term technology to describetools we use to make life better.
- Technology promises to make our work faster, our lives easier, longer, and to be happier.
- God has built a world with an infinite number of properties and materials that we are able to discover and utilize.
- God made our bodies in a way that they can heal through medicine, nutrition and exercise and sometimes just rest.
- Seeds are created to reproduce and we have discovered ways to improve their yield, keep them growing, and be useful for food.
- The Wright brothers saw a bird that God created to fly and asked if they could lift up a machine in the same way.
- But how quickly are we willing to adopt new technologies without truly counting the costs of what these technologies might be asking us to pay.
- So to get started, let’s go back to the beginning.
- ENHANCES serving God (Genesis 1:28-29; 2:19-20)
Genesis 1:28 (NLT) Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”
- God gave human beings a distinct role and purpose: to be fruitful, to multiply, to fill the earth and govern it. This is often called the Creation Mandate.
- God could have filled the earth Himself. He chose to allow human beings to participate in His kingdom work.
- We see two types of technology or activities that God asks Adam and Eve to participate in: Gardening and Culture/Building
- We see in these verses, that man was given the responsibility of tending the garden and watching over it. The word literally means to till.
- It is important to know that the command to work comes before Adam sinned. The command to work is a part of our purpose in creation not something to be avoided.
- God has created the world for us to tend, work, and protect.
- Not only does God give us technology but He is interested in how we use it.
- Genesis 2:19-20 (NLT) So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. …
- While God was interested in a positive way as Adam created a language for the animals, God can also be interested in our use of technology in a negative way as we see in the Tower of Babel.
- Sometimes God even participates in our technology Himself! Plans for the ark, a temple, and as we’ll see later, He creates a better, upgraded version of clothing for Adam and Eve.
- God has not only given us a task, He is interested in our work, and He sometimes even inserts Himself into it.
- God also places boundaries in place for how we use our technology.
- There was one piece of fruit that Adam and Eve were not to consume.
- Do you consider your job, work, skill as a gift from God?
- Have you asked Him how He would like you to use that gift or skill?
- EXTENDS a temptation (Genesis 2:15-17; 3:6-7; 11:4)
- Genesis 2:15-17 (NLT) The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of the every tree in the garden – except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”
- We see the big responsibility that God gave to Adam in the garden and we see the boundary that God gave to him.
- What do you think this boundary did for him?
- I think it protected him. I think it was useful for him.
- Anytime God gives us a boundary or a limit, it is for our benefit and not His.
- Genesis 3:6a The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. …
- You can see this allure that the fruit that Eve was told not to eat.
- Culture tells us the same thing. That we can do/be/create whatever we want to be. There are no boundaries.
- So technology tempts us to be more than what we are.
- Not only from things like a “quiet time” but pain, sorrow, grief, initiative, risk, relationship building are all affected by this distraction.
- What I appreciate about the freedom that we have in Christ Jesus is the potential for good. But often I think we settle for being entertained rather than effective disciples.
- Worse, we use our technology as a substitute for God.
- What is one tool in your home that distracts you from spending more time with God and your family?
- I’ll give you one Netflix, Hulu, streaming services. Right now, you might be able to see what a world without sports and sports news is doing for your time. But what about Netflix?
- One distraction happens during the fall. Adam and Eve ate the fruit and then what?
- Genesis 3:8 (NLT) When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees.
- Adam and Eve could have slowed down, they could have asked God. They could have said, “The serpent said this, but I’m pretty sure You said this.” “What am I missing, God?” “Help me to understand, please.” But they didn’t. They rushed to a decision without thinking fully about the consequences, only what they thought would be benefits.
- I think it’s a good thing that Christians adopt things a little later. I’m not sure that we should ever be on the cutting edge.
- Going slowly rather than quickly allows us to more fully evaluate a technology and its possible affects on our hearts.
- Text messaging. I wonder if we have less difficult conversations because of text messaging. What I hear: “I hate talking on the phone.” “It’s just easier and faster to text.” Is easier and faster the point of communication?
- I thought communication was about understanding and being understood?
- What tradeoffs are we willing to make in order to keep up with the latest and greatest?
- ENCOURAGES self-reliance (Genesis 3:7, 14-19,21; Isaiah 61:10)
- Genesis 3:7 (NLT) At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
- While they were told they would be wise, instead they were filled with shame.
- They forsook the generosity and love of a perfect Father for a piece of fruit and the promise of something better.
- Then after the perfect environment became infected with sin, they tried to fix it with technology by covering their shame with clothing.
- But that clothing put something between them and God.
- God never desired for anything to be between us and Him. He always desires to be close and intimate with us.
- Not only are we tempted to make technology our idol, to fix our problem ourselves, but technology and fulfilling our purpose as human beings became more difficult as a consequence of the fall.
- Genesis 3:14-19 lays out the consequences of Adam and Eve and I won’t go into full detail here, but now all the wonderful responsibilities of being a human will forever be altered.
- Having children, working the ground, filling the earth were all affected by the fall of humanity.
- The land is fighting against us, we struggle with infertility, we can’t communicate effectively.
- We feel these struggles. They can lead us to longing for our Savior, treasuring His offer of salvation and peace and transformation or we can distract ourselves from these real pain issues and miss out on intimacy and healing from God.
- While Adam and Eve attempted to fix their problem apart from God, God entered into their pain with something better.
- We attempt to use our technology to fix our problems, but it is not enough. God provides something way better.
- God’s solution to our problems are always best because He understand us better than we understand ourselves.
- Genesis 3:21 (NLT) And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife.
- We later find out that this clothing while better, more protective, and lasting longer than the fig leaves, it also serves to give us a picture.
- Hebrews 9:22b (ESV) … without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
- God gave us a picture in the garden that one day in order to find true forgiveness of our sins, blood would have to be shed and that blood would be His own.
- God took something from His creation and sacrificed it in order to provide a better type of clothing.
- God gave Jesus as a sacrifice to once and for all be the payment for our sins. To take our place and exchange His life for ours!
- This exchange even results in new clothes!
- Isaiah 61:10 even talks about being clothed in righteousness
- Isaiah 61:10 (NLT) I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
- Maybe you feel like all the stuff, the technology is working against you and that you’ll never get there.
- God is offering you peace. New life. If you surrender to Him, He will grant you forgiveness of sin and a new heart that desires Him.
- If you are watching this and you needed that reminder as a follower of Jesus but you need a path back to God, now’s your chance. God is ready.
- We have volunteers available to pray and talk with you. If you’re watching on our website, click on one of the options below this screen, and on social media you can respond in the comments.