He is risen! In light of Easter, let’s think about our eschatology of our technology. When Jesus returns, what tech will still be here?
Today I want to take a step back from the daily hustle and bustle of building hedges, gauging tech safety, and assessing tech health and instead what to simple ask: Are we using our tech on purpose, or for purpose?
Purposely. Your life. God’s purpose. Listen at onpurposely.com.
Nathan [00:00:00] Heavenly Father, thank you for this opportunity to talk about technology. Help me speak wisely. Holy Spirit, would You guide my words? Lord, would You open our hearts and minds to understand what You have for us this season of Easter? And each day, in light of what You’ve done through Christ, what that means for our technology and how we can live from the hope we have in that. Thank you. In Jesus name, Amen.
Nathan [00:00:21] Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Gospel Tech Podcast. This podcast is dedicated to helping families love God and use tech. My name is Nathan Sutherland, and today we are talking about what we’re supposed to do with technology in light of the hope of the gospel. So this is the week of Easter. And so Easter was this past Sunday. In light of Easter, then, what does that mean for technology? And this is going to the big picture. I’m going to start with big picture, then going to break it down into three little parts. Big picture is what’s our eschatology of technology, Meaning when Jesus comes back, what’s going to be left? Because that’s really what should inform how we use our technology and what we should do with our time now. So when Jesus comes back, what what do we actually think is going to remain? What’s going to last through the fire of God, cleansing out all the all the bad things, all the things we’ve got tethered to sin and selfishness. And then from that, Well, that’s a huge conversation. That’s not where we’re going to stay. That’s just kind of what inspired this conversation. We’re going to go to three very practical steps, really breaking it down, too. I wrote them down to make sure I wouldn’t get overly distracted. First, am I using my tech on purpose or for purpose? Second, are we use tech using tech from a place of hope rather than for hope? And third, do we need to make any changes in light of these truths of the gospel? So that’s where we’re headed again, the idea being when we look at the tech we’re using, we look at using the best of technology. When we look at raising up kids in a tech world, are we encouraging them to use amazing technologies that truly show them more of God and then help them ask great questions? Or are we simply using it because it’s convenient or in front of us? And how can we adjust if we need to? So with no further ado, let’s get this conversation started.
Nathan [00:02:03] Thank you to everyone who’s helped make this podcast possible. Thank you for watching on YouTube, for sharing it with your friends, for listening in your cars, or just as you go through your days, you’re turning on the podcast. That’s amazing. And I’m super encouraged by it because it means the gospel is reaching people and with this message of how we can use technology on purpose, not just for purpose, is extending, it’s helping people think critically. So thank you for being a part of that. Thank you for reaching out. I love the opportunity to speak at churches, at schools, at co-ops, at MOPS groups, on your podcast and your resources. Thank you for inviting me into those spaces. So if you do want me to come by the way, there’s a pair of parent talks that I’m doing right now. First one is just tech in the big three. How do we talk about smartphones, video games, pornography, kind of a 10,000 foot view of just how do we even begin talking about tech healthfully? The second that is more practical, how do we apply technology to our healthy lives and really making tech safe at home? Talk about tool tech and drool tech. How do we know if tech is healthy and then how do we build tech trust? So as the parents side, kids talk is how do we use tech on purpose not for purpose. Kind of where today’s conversation is headed. There’s a number of conversations that stem off those. But that’s our basis. There’s a family tech framework workshop I run. I found that starting with that can be a lot for families when they haven’t begun the conversation. So there’s a lot of ways to do it. But reach out to me just Nathan @GospelTech.net, or you can find us on social media @LoveGodUseTech.
Nathan [00:03:33] So today we’re talking about eschatology of technology. Where is our tech headed? And really the big picture here is Easter’s the the big day for Christians. It’s wonderful to celebrate Christmas. I love that. I love church holidays where we remember God’s goodness or remember people who are faithful to God in that great cloud of witnesses that went before us. That’s amazing. Love those. But none of it matters without Easter. Like Jesus being born super cool. If you didn’t rise from the dead, none of this matters. What matters is that Jesus, Yes, was born of a virgin birth and yes, is the direct Son of God and yes, lived a perfect life and died for our sins and rose again. That’s really key. And didn’t just rise again, but returned to the Father for two purposes. One interceding for us. He’s standing at the right hand of the Father. Then He will be seated at the right hand of the Father. And when He is seated, the work is done. He’s coming back and He is going to make all things new. And that is great news. That only happens, though, if He rose again, which is what Easter is about. And how do we know if He rose again? Yes, Scripture is huge for that, but the Holy Spirit is huge for that. This Holy Spirit of God, the third person of the Trinity, that seals us for salvation and also empowers us for good works. Jesus actually says in John that it’s better that He goes away because he’s going to send. This helper and this helper is going to teach us and is also going to empower us to do the good work God’s prepared beforehand for us to do, as Paul reminds us in Ephesians 2:10.
Nathan [00:05:09] So Easter is a big deal. So in light of Easter, what do we think about in terms of the eschatology of our technology this end times use of our technology? Well, basically we need to recognize that tech is probably going to be here. Electricity probably isn’t going away. There’s still going to be static, I would imagine. There’s still probably going to be lightning. There’s still going to be rivers and wind like there’s still going to be the the ability to generate information. And we’re not told that we’re going to lose all of our previous knowledge. We’re going to lose our flesh. So we’re only going to use our bodies and our minds and our hearts and our our abilities for God’s glory at this point, which means some stuff is going to go away. I would imagine roads are still going to be there. Talks about all roads pointing to the ruling city where Jesus reigns. We talk about that those times looking different, but that there will still be structure. There will still be a planet with people who worship God at all times. Without getting too much into end times theology, looking at this idea of like, all right, there’s still going to be some technology. There’s one Christian brother who’s very involved in technology at a global level and big companies specifically dealing with virtual reality. And his argument is he believes there will be VR. I differ with him. I think VR, virtual reality, is going to pale in comparison and that it’s a wonderful substitute to help us see beyond some of the boundaries we put on reality, because we simply can’t see God’s picture of reality. So we have an idea of what boundaries should look like and what life should look like. Often when we step away from Scripture and what God says it should look like. This is the way a lot of the world works. It’s how our boundaries for countries work and how our ideas of social norms work is well, we put the lines there, therefore that’s reality, whereas God’s going to blow right through those lines. In fact, we’re told that Jew and Gentile is now not even a line that matters anymore, where it mattered for thousands of years. It doesn’t even matter why everyone who puts their faith in Christ is now a son or a daughter of God. That’s a huge example of what the Kingdom of God’s going to look like. So what does that mean for a technology? It means that the only technology that’s going to survive the roads, that technology is going to be there, but all the technology that is about building our kingdom, it’s about efficiency because we have limited time. It’s about using these days you’ve got and and really leveraging your talents for your abilities or your fame or your wealth or whatever it might be. All that stuff’s going to go away. So if your technology is about your building up of something for yourself, selfish gain and selfish use, it’s going to burn up.
Nathan [00:07:41] Now, I’m not going to say you’re not saved. In fact, there’s scripture references talking about you’ll be saved. But if your works weren’t built on the foundation of Christ, they’re going to burn up. You’re going to get through like someone escaping from a fire. Everything is going to be burned, but you’ll be saved. And while that’s great, that’s not our end goal. Our end goal is no we want crowns to cast at the feet of Jesus. We want the opportunity to say this was God’s good work that I got to be a part of and look God, You are great and amazing. I believe that’s what all of eternity is going to be. It’s not some kind of mandated chapel service for those of us who grew up Christian churches or went to Christian schools at some point where you’re brought there against your own will. I do believe there will be a season of that. We see that anyway, without getting anywhere. There’s a season where justice will be meted out whether or not we like it. But there will be a time where people with joyful hearts will go to the throne of our ruling and reigning savior, and we will worship God with all that we are, with our talents and with our gifts and with our service. We will love God at every action we do. Which means, sure, there might be social media and when Jesus comes back, I’ll give you that. It might be like a Pinterest where everything that’s created and designed is showing how good God is, where it’s beautiful and it’s wonderful. And it’s a lot of what happened in the garden, a lot of good work. There will be work when Jesus comes back. Please don’t think it’s going to be all naps. That’s not what we were designed for. We’re designed for beautiful work. We were designed in the image and likeness of God. We are creating beings. That’s part of what we love to do. It’s part of relationship and it’s part of what God put in us. We love creating and it’s part of that learning process of creating as part of that designing, process of creating that is beautiful and that will give glory to God. Writing a song takes work, running takes work, playing games and having relationships. All these things take effort. It won’t just be eternity of consumption and of yeah, I guess our field line fellow, as it were, that good work to produce fruit will be beautiful. It just won’t have the constant opposition of our flesh or of nature around us messing things up. So in light of that, a lot of technology won’t make it. A lot of our social media where we are building up our kingdom to try to somehow impress God won’t be there.
Nathan [00:09:56] But what will make it? Well, when we talk about this, I. I just kind of wrote a little note. There’s always a chance that some platform will capture the essence of relationship, humanity and truly be known. Some kind of, as I mentioned, Pinterest of creation, where everything posted brings wonder, but not for fame or accolades. Much of this is going to fade. And it brings us to our first question when we then look. If we look at the future of art when Christ comes back. Much of this tech isn’t going to matter because VR is about often creating reality in our image rather than the God’s image. A lot of social media and a lot of video games and a lot of internet searches are about getting what I want and my time not asking God that His will would be done on earth as it is in heaven. So when that fades, well, all right. I want to make sure that I’m using tech in light of that reality.
Nathan [00:10:45] So first is, am I using tech on purpose or for purpose? And there’s really four parts of this. First, look at the time we invest in it. Yes, total time I think it’s important to look at your screen time and just kind of get a gist of like, where are you using your time? Right? Are you investing it properly? Are you using it intentionally? But I’m actually going to focus for this conversation more on the frequency time. Meaning if you were to spend one hour on drool tech, for example, that’s different than using one hour straight than using one hour, 3 minutes at a time. And the reason it’s different is if you were to watch a show that’s one hour long. You want to go watch the British Baking Show or whatever your thing is, your Lego building show. You are going to watch one hour and you made one decision to do that. You made sure you had the time, You set it in your space and you went and did it. Kids are in bed or you’ve got a date night or whatever your time is. You’re watching it with your family. So you watch your show for one hour, and that’s one decision. But if you check your phone 20 times in a day for 3 minutes at a time or you check your smartwatch, those are 20 different decisions still adding up to an hour. But the repetition of that and the reasoning behind that, you probably didn’t intentionally choose to check your phone 20 times. That’s kind of becoming a tic. In fact, the average American in the United States checks their phone 350 times once every 3 minutes in a waking day. That’s a lot. That means we’re probably checking it more than we are thinking about it more than being intentional and saying how this is going to help me. I know I do. When do I check my phone? Well, I check my phone when I get bored, When I get stressed, when I feel anxious. It’s just that thing. And I generally checking things like news, which, by the way, don’t help me feel less anxious sometimes I’m doing better on that, but I have noticed it’s something I have to intentionally engage. My phone has to go away or I just check it. I’ll check it when I’m writing a podcast, I’m making this content and I’ll get kind of stressed and anxious and what does my brain start telling me to do? You should check that out. Just let off a little bit of steam. Just kind of let your mind relax. It doesn’t let me relax by the way. Time is going to show us am I using my tech on purpose or for purpose? Because when I run away to a distracting app, I’m not trusting and following Jesus with that. I’m going, man, I’m stressed. You know what will bring me satisfaction? This app. This piece of technology, this piece of distraction. I’m not more present, I’m not more loving, I’m not more gracious. I’m just kind of distracted for a minute and I kind of forget about that other stuff. And now I come back and that’s not dealing with it. That’s not helping me look more like Jesus. My time is actually reflecting that I’m building a habit of needing technology instead of being able to be present, dealing with that stress and giving it back to Jesus and bringing in His joy into those spaces where I really feel anxious and out of control and I need to actually get to the root and go, Well, why? Why does this stress me out? Is it my work environment? Is it I left it to the last minute? Is it I’m trying to take too much power on myself and expecting myself to be perfect and therefore I’m feeling this heavy weight? Like those are things that need to be dealt with and aren’t dealt with when I run an app. So first we look at our time, specifically the frequency. I don’t believe it’s bad to use drool tech for an hour. I think it’s much worse to use it 20 times for 3 minutes a piece or whatever it is, 60 times for one minute a piece. Right? I think that is more damaging to our habits, to our neural pathways, and to the productivity of the tech we’re using. When we look at it in the big picture of even our tech needs to be serving God, we need to be using it for purpose, excuse me, on purpose, not for purpose, using it intentionally in that way.
Nathan [00:14:20] The second would be priority. Where does it come? Is tech the first thing we’re checking in our day? Is it the first thing we’re go into when we feel worried or stressed? Like I just brought up with my anxiety? Are we using tech intentionally to help us accomplish a task or is it just a thoughtless process? That’s priority matters. This also comes to space, which is the third conversation. Where is technology in our spaces? Is it the priority of each room? The physical layout I’ve mentioned before, the Andy Crouch book, Tech Wise Family is why we no longer have a television. We have laptops. So I have a work laptop, we have a personal laptop. The personal laptop comes out and that’s what we watch shows on. And I love it because you can’t watch it accidentally. You have to pull the thing out of a drawer, got a log in, you got to open your viewing app, whatever you use, and then you can watch, which is great. And then you get the opportunity to just close the screen physically and just turn it off. And the screen still stares at you like the screen goes away and it goes back in a drawer and it stays there until the next time out. Do kids still ask for shows? Sure. Do we still watch shows as a family or Anna and I together? Yeah. But, it does require a certain amount of intentionality coming from space, coming from this conversation of what do we actually stand for, and does it make sense to have this giant black box staring at us from a wall when we put very little time into this thing? That’s actually not an accurate reflection of how we should be using this space, this main sitting area that connects with our kitchen, that should be more about relationship and conversation. So let’s look at our priorities in terms of space.
Nathan [00:15:50] Finally, money. So I’ve talked about time, priorities, space, and then money. And this is simply, I guess, looking at time versus tech or excuse me, tithe versus technology, where our first fruits going? Are we just saving up for that next thing? Are we constantly looking to get that next investment in distraction or is our technology a benefit? Is that a net gain for us? That might be money is going to show us at least what we’re valuing. Where is our money going? Are we saving up intentionally for technology? Cool. Are we also giving to the Lord’s work? And are we tithing? I’m not even telling the amount to tithe. I am going to say you need to be when you get your money giving it back to the Lord for His work. Because at the end of the day, it’s not our money. Like, yes, you worked hard for it, but there’s kind of the farming analogy like, yes, you had to till the land, you had to plant the seed, but God still has to make it rain and He still has to make the sun shine it. Like you can search as much as you want. I want to say this is a Luther reference. You can search as much as you want, but God still had to put the food there. Like the Raven still would find food by searching unless God didn’t put it there, then the Raven starves. Like God still provides even through our work. So, yes, that money is ours and we need to recognize where it comes from. So please spend it well. Have cool stuff. That’s wonderful. Just make sure that our hope isn’t well, once I get this new thing, then I’ll be happy. Then our family will have satisfaction. Then things will be okay. Because new screen, new sound system, new gaming system, new whatever purchase it might be, app device platform. That’s not what we find our satisfaction in. So we want to make sure we use our tech on purpose, have nice tech, just make sure it’s done right, not for purpose, not saying things aren’t okay. So I now need this extra addition.
Nathan [00:17:41] That’s our first piece when we look at All right. In light of Easter, Jesus lived a perfect life, died and rose again to give me new life that I’m a now, a new creation. Therefore, when I use my tech, I use it from hope. Okay, I can play this game because I have hope already, and now I’m using this to extend that hope. I’m more present with people when I play. I really enjoy the story and it shows me the beauty of God in that super cool and our time, priorities, the space we use it in, and our money should reflect that. The second piece then is, All right, we’re using tech from a place of hope, not for hope. So let’s look at the big picture. Does this help me abide in Christ? I use the example when talking to parents about kids of right. Does this piece of technology specifically drool tech? Because it tends to be more of a wrestling match with drool tech. Drool tech wants to take our time, our focus, and our money and it can get tricky. Meaning you tell your kid, “Hey, you’ve got 5 minutes left to play this game.” And the video game or the social media platform of the show says, “You probably have ten, right?” Like, Yeah, yeah, totally important to listen to your parents and you will just kind of on your own terms because this is really important too, and it gives you that extra goal that you never wanted. It’s trying to convince you, it’s trying to train you that you need something you did not want. And as soon as we start giving up the things we need to pursue the things we want, we start giving up sleep. We start giving up relationships, start giving up priorities. We start giving up food to get the things we want. That’s the premise of addiction is giving up what you need for what you want. So we want to look at that and go all right, am I abiding? Am I more present, more capable, and more available for doing God’s work because of this technology? And if I’m not, what should that look like? Let’s start with the first part. Am I more present? Am I using this tech from a place of hope? I’m new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “I’m a new creation made in Christ.” Cool. Ephesians 2:10 again says, that I’m actually created for good works and going to be doing Jesus And John 15:1 says, “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit He takes away and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I’ve spoken to. You abide in me, and I in you, as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine. Neither can you, unless you and by abide in Me. I am the vine. You are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit. For a part for Me, you can do nothing.” I love that picture. We have this idea of are we producing fruit because we’re connected to the vine? Am I using my technology because I have so much life in me? This technology is going to help me extend it to others. The reason I’m sitting in front of a camera talking into a microphone by myself right now in my office is because I have hope in Christ, not because I’m perfect, not because everything makes sense, not because I am flawless in the use of technology. I just explain to you, I get anxious and I turn to technology, even though I know the research, even though I say these words. Knowing facts doesn’t change my behavior. Knowing Jesus changes my behavior. I’m here because I have hope in Christ. I see Jesus changing my heart and I want that for you. I want it for your family. I want it for your parenting. I want it for your marriage. I want it for your dating. I want it for your singleness. I want it for your young people and for you old people. I want it to be in your lives and spark a fire in you that comes only from God working in your heart. These aren’t Nathan’s words that are stirring you up. This is God’s Word stirring you up and I just happened to be able to deliver it. Thanks to technology, I’m using it from hope. But Jesus says you’re going to bear good fruit. That means it’s a standard for good and bad. What is being borne out where we can look at Galatians 5:22. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Love that list. I love the last one. For a lot of my life, I thought self-control was like self-discipline was, and I say bad, that it was an effort thing. I thought of kind of like bootstrapping that was anti-grace. if I trusted God, I wouldn’t be trying so hard. It would just flow through me. That isn’t biblical. Self-control is actually an example of trusting God. Like that’s part of it, because otherwise I’m not self-controlled, I’m flesh controlled. That’s my only other option. There’s no like where you can be under the control of the flesh. You can do really good or you can trust Jesus. Like the third path isn’t there. Like that’s what a lot of religion tells us, that, hey, I know a way to God there’s a special route. And if you follow it up this mountain, God’s at the top and you can get there. That’s not the case. In fact, you don’t even want to climb the mountain. You want to go make your own mountain and climb that one, and you’ll spend eternity doing that apart from Christ. That is the entire premise of the gospel is that you will end up doing really good works in your strength and hating God because you didn’t do it your way. So, this is Milton’s Satan, by the way, in Paradise Lost the like, “Oh, I’m not in heaven anymore, but at least I’m free.” I can do and you’re not free. You’re completely trapped in your sin and you’re in your will and you are bitter and angry about it. That’s where Jesus steps in is but God being rich in mercy while we were still sinners. Because apart from Christ, we don’t produce love, joy, peace, patience, kindness. We produced what, Galatians 5:19-21 says. “Now the works of the flesh are evident. Sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, fits of anger.” Think about rage quitting is like an entire cast of gaming. Now you can just Google rage quitting. You’ll see lots of people breaking screens and keyboards and headphones and chairs and walls and all sorts of things because it’s the technology can bring a lot of rage when it doesn’t conform to our will that comes out of us. Anger is a good thing. But fits of anger, uncontrollable rage. God is constantly angry at sin and brokenness and constantly gracious. Sending His own son to die are death and rise again to give us new life constantly. The wrath of God is a very real thing. It’s why Jesus needed to come. And the grace of God is equally real because of the wrath. That’s important. It’s okay to be angry. It’s not what it’s talk about. This is that uncontrollable rage that spills out of us at the people and things around us because things aren’t going according to our kingdom and will. Rivalries, dissension, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and things like these…Woo! Fruits of the flesh. They’re real. Fruits of the spirit. What happens if we see fruits of the flesh in our life? It means you have flesh, means you haven’t died yet, been risen and with a new body that is uncontaminated and made in the image of Christ. Instead, you have a spirit that’s made in the image of Christ, you are a new creation, living in a flesh that isn’t. So when I say, “Are you using tech from hope?” I don’t mean are you perfect. I mean, “Are you using your social media? Because God changed your heart and you’re one of the people that have hope?” Are you using your social media just to extend your kingdom? And I understand speaking truth is loving, but there’s a lot of truth Jesus didn’t speak. Even to the point of Judas, Jesus continually called him disciple, continually called him friend, even to the point where He said, “One of you disciples will betray me.” Turns to Judas at the Passover supper that we would have just had this past week. And in dipping the bread into the bitter herbs, handed it to Judas as a call for repentance. The entire premise is what you’re doing, it’s going to be bitter. In fact, in that conversation, He says, “it’s going to be better for this person if he hadn’t been born.” That’s a strong statement coming from the Lord of creation. Like, that’s a that’s a big statement. It’s not hyperbole. He’s saying this is worst case scenario and it’s a call to repent. Did he know Judas probably wouldn’t? I would assume He knew that. Yet there’s truth. He doesn’t speak there. It’s still an offer of repentance. It’s still an offer of salvation. And when we go to technology, we should be bringing that same grace and mercy. Yeah, there’s still truth in that. We still speak to the brokenness and to the need for repentance, but we speak from being emissaries for a loving and gracious God who has real wrath that He is holding back. So let’s speak to that right now. There’s still a season for repentance. That’s the truth. We need to be speaking. Okay?
Nathan [00:26:08] So I bring that up because we’re speaking from the hope we have in Christ. We speak that to our kids. When our kids make mistakes, we don’t simply share the wrath of God. We let the wrath that comes from our kids being hurt and sin entering their lives and us being mad about that motivate the mercy that God has extended us. Yes. I’m mad that you did that. Yes, I’m mad that hurt you. Yes, I’m mad this brokenness even exists and I have to deal with it. That makes me angry. And that anger should motivate me. That’s what anger should do. It should bring me back to Christ and not say, “Kid of mine, why aren’t you more like me?” You say, “Man, I need Christ and I want you to see your need for Christ.” That makes me the anger, makes me want to do this right. I’m motivated by my hope, right? I’m not going here for hope. I’m producing good fruit and when I don’t, I repent. I confess it means I physically speak the words out loud. I need Jesus. I need help. Lord, forgive me and don’t hold this against me. Thank You for Your saving grace that I have in Christ for making me a new creation, for making my identity in Jesus that I have the bride clothes of Christ on. That I’m saved from my old self and I’m saved for these good works You’ve called me too. These are things that we can speak out loud. We confess are sin. We say out loud the things I did that I was looking to for hope. The tech I used wrong. The thing I did in anger that wasn’t godly anger. It was a fit of rage. Anger that I took on my own self. Moses Striking the rock comes to my mind as we’re speaking about this, right? That idea of like, I’m going to do kind of what God said I’m doing on my terms because I’m mad and I’m frustrated. I want to act out and I don’t want to trust.
Nathan [00:27:44] Which brings us to our third point. So if our first point was, are we using technology on purpose or for purpose? Second is are we using it from the hope we have in Christ? Are we trying to look for our hope in it? Third is going to be what changes do we need to make? Three examples I guess I would use here is we’re not trying to impress God is a big picture when we talk about we’re not trying to impress God and we’re not trying to use our tech right. So God will be impressed by us, and now pick us. Instead we’re saying, All right, I’m using my tech because God loves me already. He loves everyone who well, He loves everyone and everyone who confesses Christ, who says, “I believe,” who trusts and follows Jesus, that person is a new creation and they are a son or daughter of God. We know that from Scripture. All right. From that, then there’s some technology use that doesn’t reflect that. No, I’m using this technology because frankly, I think I need to have my own little control over here and I need to give this up. I need to come open handed to God and go, “You know what, Lord? You are better than this entertainment. You are better than this area I’m trying to build my own kingdom. You’re better than this sin, this lust, this anger, this control, this…Whatever it is that you and I are trying to build on our own and we need to give it up.” Jesus says, first of all, that we need to wash feet. He washes the feet of his disciples. He says, “You need to serve others just like I served you.” He said, “Really, it looks like loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, loving your neighbor as yourself.” These are two commandments Jesus gives that He says not only the two commandments, but they fulfill all the law and the prophets, meaning everything written in the Old Testament. You got your Ten Commandments. Those are covered in these two. You have all the other commandments. These are covered in these two. What did Jesus fulfill the Old Testament? What did He give us the power to do these two things? Love God with all your heart, soul, mind its strength. Love your neighbor as yourself. He even goes so far as, say, your neighbor includes your enemy. How do we know? He gets a story about a Jewish guy who gets beat up and a Samaritan, someone who is racially different? Who is politically different? Who is religiously different from this individual and is the neighbor to him, he says, “Who loves this man best? Who is the neighbor to this man? Well, the guy who helped him go and do likewise.” Okay. All right. So your enemy is included in your neighbors, by the way. So we have those two commands, the third being “Go and make disciples” we see in Matthew 28:19-20. So we have three commands from Jesus that involve serving others, not ourselves. Jesus is the example of washing feet.When we look at our technology, it’s common for our technology to be a diversion from God’s will for us. It’s often us doing what God said in our hearts in a way that comes with no relationship and no cost. So look at when we play our video games. Often we’re wanting conquest and adventure, no cost or investment. When we have pornography struggles, what are we often dealing with? Relationship and intimacy with no cost or investment? When we want to invest in social media, we often want either influence. Like literally we go after being influencers. When I ask kids what you want to be when you grow up, influencer is a common answer. Like a lot of kids will say that. What you want to be influential in? I just want people to listen to my opinions, Right? I’ll do anything. I’ll I’ll talk about lip balm as long as they’re listening to me and they’re following and I feel important. What are we trying to do there? We’re trying to get glory on our terms. It’s just another Tower of Babel situation where we’re trying to use our influence. But no cost, no relationship. The closeness we had is parasocial. It’s us talking and people feeling like they know us and therefore they follow us and listen to us. Every one of these is a distortion of what God calls us to. We want wealth and power, but we don’t want investment and time. I want to get it right now. I’m going to join that new app, that new platform, that new thing. I’m going to say those words or put on a new persona, not because this is who God’s made me to be, but because this is what people want to see. And I know that’s what’s going to make me popular and powerful. Therefore, I’ll even change who I am in order to get what I believe I need. And I’m going to do it with no cost and no relationship. Well, actually with great cost, but no cost to me. I can have it quick. I can have it today because the internet lets me. Right? And at the end of the day, we need to go. “No, no, we’re building God’s kingdom here.”.
Nathan [00:32:08] So when we talk about what changes that happen, we need to look at how am I using my technology, am I using it to wash the feet of others? In that circle Jesus even washes Judas’ feet. He serves Judas in a way that you just doesn’t even recognize he needs. In fact, he hates Jesus. At this point, Satan does not enter your heart without an invitation. Judas, listen to Jesus. Judas finally understood that Jesus, when He is having his feet washed by this woman, this woman at the Pharisees house for the Pharisee goes, “If He knew who this woman was, He never let her wash his feet.” This woman is no bueno. Jesus says, “Hey, who loves more? Someone who’s been forgiven little or forgiven much?” And the guy goes, “Well, I guess someone has been forgiven much.” “Because, yeah, this woman has been forgiven much and she’s loved too much. And you, you didn’t even wash my feet when I walked in, which is just custom. Like you didn’t kiss me when I walked in. That is custom. You’re supposed to greet me. You didn’t. She hasn’t stopped kissing my feet. She hasn’t stopped washing my feet with perfume and her tears. She’s prepared me for burial because she gets it. I’m going to die for her sins and rise again to give her new life.” And Judas hears that. After that goes, “I need to go talk to the Pharisees. This dude needs to get out of here. I understand what he’s about. I know what he’s trying to do and I don’t like it. In fact, I hate him and I need a different king. He’s going to look more like what I want him to look like.” And yet Jesus, washed his feet. Keep that in mind. Wrath of God and mercy of God. He’s not excusing Judas’s behavior. Judas is replaced as an apostle later. We understand that that was bad. Judas did not repent. He was not forgiven for this decision. Yet the offers there, the relationships there, the service is there.
Nathan [00:33:51] With that in mind, are we using our technology to serve and wash the feet of our friends, of our enemies, and loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength? Then Paul reminds us that this extends not just to serving needs. So sure, we have homeless and we have the people who need food and we have the poor with us. But this extends even to brothers and sisters in Christ with poor consciences or sees me weak consciences. The concept of the weak conscience is something Paul addresses in Romans 14, and he talks about meat sacrifice to idols. And I want to be very clear here. The point isn’t the meat. The point is the conscience. So in this culture, you had gentile believers. They love Jesus and they’re trusting and following Him. They’re going, “Hey, I was at these temple worship ceremonies. I served idols. I sacrificed meat to demons, asking them for blessing and for plenty and for bounty. And I want no part of it. Like I know meat has been sacrificed idols and is sold in the market. I don’t want to eat it because it’s a trigger for me. It’s something that brings me back.” It’s probably be akin in our culture to someone who lived a really wild lifestyle and they sought satisfaction in chemicals, be that drugs or alcohol and they can’t be around that stuff. They don’t go to those parties, they don’t go to those events. They don’t partake it for themselves, not because it’s necessarily sinful in itself for some of that, but because they know what that meant for them. They know what they sought satisfaction in and that it’s no good they can’t go to that space again. So what do they do? They avoid abstain completely. And that’s what we were seeing. These people going, “I know what the temple prostitution situation was. I know what the worship was like. I know what those sacrifices meant. I know what it cost me. I don’t want it.” And Paul goes, “Yeah, you Christian, where that’s fine, you’re a Jewish Christian, and you go, Hey that meat. It’s untainted. Those demons aren’t real. They got no power on me. I’m not going to somehow consume the mark of the beast in taking this meat and be tainted spiritually.” He goes, “Yeah, but that person’s conscience is bothering them. That’s no longer okay for you. When you eat with them, you don’t consume that meat because you don’t want them to stumble. You don’t want them to cross the boundary line their conscience has and somehow sin.” So we’re washing our feet, yes with needs and calls for repentance and speaking truth and love, and we’re speaking humbly and giving up rights that we have. In fact, Paul says elsewhere in 1 Corinthians 10:23 that, “Wverything is lawful, but not everything is beneficial.” Meaning we’re not talking about stuff that’s morally wrong, right? In Titus 1:5, “That to the pure, everything is pure.” We’re not saying as long as you go in with a good intention, just sin all you want. We’re saying no, it may not be a sin for you, but if it’s a sin for somebody else, if their conscience is grieved in this, if they are feeling the weight of past wrongs that they simply can’t step into. I have a friend who lived a life in New Age and was seeking satisfaction in all sorts of psychedelic experiences and sexual freedoms and came to the Lord and is like, “Whoa, like I can’t go in those spaces.” In fact, he’d say, “I can’t read Harry Potter.” Like, for me, that book is too far. It brings up too much that I’ve experienced and gone through. Actually a lot of my friends who can’t go into the space of Harry Potter have been in spiritually dark places. So I can read it and I feel fine. It doesn’t bother me. I don’t let my kids read it right now. We can go into that another day, but like I’ve read it a couple of times, I enjoy the story. I appreciate the art in it. That might be a hot take for some of you. I’m sorry if you’re disappointed and I’m not sorry. I understand if you’re disappointed in me, but in my world, that that doesn’t stir up any of the negative fruit. And yet, for my friend, it does. He can’t go to that space. He can’t watch the movies, partake in the games or read the books, because for him it’s spiritually heavy. And in my world, I don’t then celebrate this book and trotted out in front of him and ask him to talk about it with me. That’s uncaring and unloving. In this conversation, what changes need to happen? Are we loving our neighbors? Are we loving God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength?Are we making disciples helping others trust and follow Jesus? Giving up even our rights, giving up even our rights that extend to the consciences of others because they are convicted of this thing? Do we let it go with open hands and go, “You know what? It’d be fine for me, but I choose not to because I love you more and I’m going to serve you in this way.”.
Nathan [00:38:05] So when we have this conversation today, we’re thinking about technology in light of the Easter, in light of the gospel, this good news that God saves sinners. He sent His only Son who died and rose again and now gives us new life freely, that we’re not left alone as orphans of the Holy Spirit indwells everyone who believes in Christ for their salvation and that that’s immediate and you are a new creation living from that hope you have. So questions than. Today, do I look for cute ways to tweak my tech and get around things? Or do I use tech that helps me to look more like Jesus? Do I use tech on purpose rather than for purposes? The first one. Second is, do I use tech from a place of hope, extending hope to others, or am I using it for hope? And third, and finally, is my tech helping me love and serve those around me? Is it helping me wash the feet of my neighbors? Am I using it open hand or am I claiming I need this for my purpose or for my satisfaction? This is how I blow off steam. That was my argument in video games for years. I need this. And God goes, “Yeah, but I’ve got something better for you.” And in my life, guess what? I wouldn’t be doing this right now if I still had video games because this would be my gaming time. I never would have put in the work to do this. I’m not saying video games are that for you. I’m saying there might be something prayerfully approached the Lord and his goodness and recognize that in light of Easter, you’ve got everything you need for life and godliness. You don’t need whatever that tech is that’s mostly good, but has this really negative thing. The Lord goes, “Hey, give that to Me. I’m going to give you something better.” I want to just remind you and encourage you that He will. That’s what Easter is the promise of. He’s not holding back even His own Son, and He’s going to give us his own Son, won’t He give us everything else that we need? For life, for joy, for godliness, for hope, for service, for work, for power. We have all the things we need in light of Easter and the light of Christ. That’s the eschatology of our technology. That’s the working backwards of, okay, we’re headed to a world where Christ reigns and is the Son that we need. So in light of that, what does it look like to use tech?
Nathan [00:39:59] Well, today. I pray and I hope that this was encouraging and challenging. I hope that it was applicable enough. I know that it’s a really big concept, but it’s just in light of Easter, I wanted to lift our eyes a little bit from the how do we set up our networks to like why? Why do we have protections on our network? Why do we care if our kids use tech well? Because we live in a tech world and we don’t need to be scared of technology, but we also don’t need to be indifferent. We need to use the tech well. There’s a lot we can use, but that doesn’t mean we should use it all. So I hope it’s encouraging to you. I hope you’ll share this with someone and I hope you’ll join us next time as we continue this conversation about how we can love God and use tech.