Summary: The hidden motive back of each commandment is worship. Since everything a Christian does should praise God, all of the Ten Commandments revolve around worshipping God.
“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain” (Exodus 20:7).
1. Not for salvation. Could a person be saved if they kept the third commandment, if they never once cursed, or never used God’s name in vain? “Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one part, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10).
2. Already redeemed. What had God already done for Israel? “I am the Lord thy God which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt” (Exodus 20:2).
3. A relationship between people and God. The Ten Commandments were never given as divine laws to earn salvation.
B. WHAT DOES “IN VAIN” MEAN?
1. The name of God means the person of God. Why does the Third Commandment mention “name” and not other aspects of God, i.e., His Word, His altar, or His promises?
2. Degrading or insulting way. What does “vain” mean?
3. How can people take God’s name in vain?
a. Joking about God.
b. Showing unbelief in God’s ability.
c. Laughing at God.
d. Not taking God seriously, i.e., to trivialize God.
e. Making a vow in God’s name but not meaning it or doing it.
f. Repeating Christian expressions without meaning.
g. Use God’s name as a curse.
h. Blaspheming God, i.e., directing hatred at God.
i. Associating filth with God, i.e., His purity. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of thy mouth” (Eph. 4:29). “Put off all . . . filthy communication out of they mouth” (Col. 3:8).
4. What is wrong with cursing?
a. The curser doesn’t believe in God.
b. Reflects the anger in the curser’s heart.
c. Cursing takes the place of God to judge people. Only God can condemn a person to Hell or damnation.
d. Cursing denies God’s control over people and affairs.
5. How can Christians unknowingly take God’s name in vain?
a. False claims to worship. “And why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).
b. Falsely using God’s name in service. “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:22-23).
c. Falsely praying in Jesus’ name. “Not every one that saith unto Me Lord . . .” (Matt. 7:21). “The evil spirit answered . . . Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?” (Acts 19:15).
C. WILL NOT HOLD HIM GUILTLESS
1. Without charge or innocent. What does the word “guiltless” mean? “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man” (John 3:2).
3. Honesty. With the tongue, “Bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men” (James 3:9). We worship God (which we should do) and we curse men (which we should not do).
D. THE POWER OF WORDS
1. Reflect our heart. Why are words powerful? “How forceful are right words” (Job 6:25).