Summary: This is the third in my series on the Ten Commandments and tells how we are not to misuse God’ name for our own ends.

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This series began in a search for answers to a very common misconception when it comes to whether or not a person is going to heaven. There is this belief in our society that in order for a person to be accepted by God, in order for God to hear a person’s prayers, and in order to heaven you have to obey the rules.

What rules?

The Ten Commandments, of course.

Now if you’ve been here during the last two times I’ve been in the pulpit, we began blasting apart this myth. Rules do not lead to God’s acceptance. What we found is that God never gave his commandments and said, “Here’s some rules for you. If you obey these you and I can have a relationship.” Instead God gave his rules to people who he already had a relationship with.

The very next thing we talked about is that God wants to be your one and only God. Because you know what? He is the only God.

Right along with that we learned that God doesn’t want us to make anything, any idol in his image. He can’t be represented because he is bigger than anything that you and I could create. Trying to create an image of him would be, on our parts, an attempt to make him more manageable. And God is not manageable.

Today I want to continue looking at the Ten Commandments.

Now if someone were to ask you where to the Ten Commandments are you’d say, “Old or New Testament?”

Old Testament. Great.

And more specifically they’re found in the book of?

Exodus, right.

Anyone know what chapter?

Chapter 20. Wow. We really are getting this.

We’re going to be discussing a commandment that for years has had a specific meaning to most people. In fact, many of you were probably learned this very specific application while you were growing up.

If you were to look at this commandment in the King James Version, it would say, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord your God in… vain.”

Hey some of you do remember this one.

Now when I was a kid, I was taught that this commandment meant that when I got angry, when something went wrong, I was not to say, “Oh God” or “Jesus” and I was most certainly not to add the word “damn” behind them. Any of you learn that specific meaning when you were growing up?

In fact, my parents wouldn’t even allow me to say “gosh” or “gee.” And that commandment went something like this, “You shall not say “gosh” or “gee” so that you never slip into saying “God” or “Jesus.” Let’s see the hands of the people whose parents like that.

A few of you. We had some weird parents, huh?

There’s really nothing wrong with having rules to keep us from breaking other rules. Even the Israelites were doing this.

In fact, we find that in certain Jewish societies there were men whose entire lives were dedicated to copying the scriptures word for word. Now these men had a different pen and a different ink for each time they came across the name of God in the text. In many of these societies they would even go so far as to throw away or even break the pen so that there was no chance that the pen could be used for something that would be against God’s will.

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