Summary: A brief sermon on #3 of the Ten Commandments.

Do Not Take the Lord’s Name in Vain

Exodus 20:1-7

Evening Service for 2/2/2003


A. In the journal of the American Medical Association Dr. Howard Bennett presented his personal study of the various names of people in the medical profession in the United States. In his study he found 20 doctors named Needle, Probe and Lance. 20 more doctors named Drill, Scope, Bolt and Pin. Dr. Bennett found 19 physicians named Fix, Cur and Heal and 74 doctors named Brilliant, Able and Best! But imagine the reluctance of a patient who visits doctors with names like Klutz or Croak! In Vinton, we had a Dr. Kevorkian who was an oral surgeon, no relation to the Dr. Kevorkian of Michigan.

B. Today we may be amused when a person’s name actually “fits” his character or profession. Like Mary Kay being called Mrs. Vampire or Tick.

C. In Bible times, however, a person’s name typically reflected something of his character or personality. Naturally, then, God cares deeply about His own name.

D. He is a modern day Adolph Hitler or Josef Stalin. These names have transcended the original people. They are servants, Mother Teresa’s of the region.

E. What name have we taken on? Those that take the name of Jesus as their Lord carry on the reputation and teachings that He declared.

F. Franklin Graham has recently written a book about the Name. It looked good. Directly apply to this commandment.

Thesis: How does this command apply today?

For instances:

I. Using his name as an expletive, cursing!

A. The Israelites never pronounced YHWH in their reading of the Bible. YHWH (The Great I Am) was considered too sacred to pronounce. Adonai was substituted in reading.

B. We do need to watch our tongues. (Prov 29:20 NIV) Do you see a man who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

C. (Mat 12:36 NIV) But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.(Mat 12:37 NIV) For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."

D. James 3:2-10

E. It is becoming more and more accepted to use the Lord’s name in vain among school children and on television.

F. Some people cannot express thoughts without blasphemy. When people come to Christ, many of them have to give up 1/3 of their vocabulary.

G. As Christians we should be an example in our language.

1. (1 Tim 4:12 NIV) Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

2. (Titus 2:7 NIV) In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness(Titus 2:8 NIV) and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

II. To speak in a negative fashion of God or the things of God. Speaking defamatory of God.

A. People, who always complain about the church, complain about some Christian people.

B. Sometimes they do this is front of unbelievers. Terrible!

C. If we love God we will love His bride, the church! If we love God we will love things that are associated with him!

D. I’m just telling it like it is! (Phil 2:14 NIV) Do everything without complaining or arguing,(Phil 2:15 NIV) so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe

E. To shake our fist at God and say that he is not a good God, etc. I have a problem, a gripe with God. OK, but we better not rebel against God or God will not hold us guiltless.

III. Using the Lord as a cosmic bellhop.

A. Magic was used in many religions of the ancient world to command a deity to do the human’s bidding. Often this involved invoking the name of the deity. The third commandment prohibited Israelites from placing the name of the Lord on the same level as other gods by invoking his name “in vain.”

B. This command tells us that we cannot manipulate the Lord by invoking his name- or by any other means. The Lord is never obligated to do our bidding.

C. Believing that we can pray certain words and God will act in a predictable way as a result seems close to violating this commandment.

D. The prayer of Jabez has become a popular recently. Many sincere believers have testified that their circumstances have been changed after praying this prayer. The prayer of Jabez is a beautiful prayer and there is nothing wrong with praying it- unless we become like the pagans and pray it in the belief that when we utter those words, God has to do our bidding.

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Clearisa Leon

commented on Feb 13, 2007

I am from St Lucia in the Caribbean. A sunday school teacher. Have been teaching on the ten commandments - your sermon offered good insights on the subject "Taking the name of hte Lord in vain" Do keep up the good work.

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