Summary: God's name is not in vain.

Watch Your Mouth

Exodus 20:7

Rev. Brian Bill


People get mixed up on my name all the time. Some people call me “Bill” and I’ve even been called “Brain,” though I’m not sure where that one comes from. When I’m called “Mr. Bill” people around my age think of his sidekick “Sluggo” and start laughing. I like to joke that having three first names means that when people say my name three guys come running! I tell people not to worry if they get my name wrong because it happens all the time. It’s not a big deal to me.

When someone says your name, the hope is that good things come to their mind. That’s why it hurts so much when someone takes your name through the mud or attributes things to you that you’ve never said or done. I’m reminded of Proverbs 22:1: “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” The converse is also true according to 1 Samuel 25:25: “May my lord pay no attention to that wicked man Nabal. He is just like his name – his name is Fool, and folly goes with him.”

All you need to do is hear the name Judas Iscariot or Hitler or the Chicago Bears and strong negative images come to your mind. Some names make us laugh like Dweezil Zappa and his sister Moon Unit. Some people are assigned nicknames by the media like “Octomom.” Names are a big deal though, aren’t they? We search for just the right name for our children. Have you ever noticed that celebrities seem to go out of their way to choose names that are very unusual? Here are some actual names that I came across: Dandelion, Fifi Trixibell, Jeronimo, and Ocean.

Other celebrities have changed their names like former Miami Dolphin Mark Dupas who changed his name to Mark Duper. That didn’t quite say what he wanted it to say, so he changed it to Mark Super Duper. The musician Prince changed his name to a symbol and now it’s back to Prince. NBA player Ron Artest, wanting to turn over a new leaf and get away from his reputation as a fighter changed his name to “Metta World Peace.” I don’t think that’s going so well for him. A couple months ago he decked another player with his elbow and was suspended for seven games, which is nothing compared to his suspension of 86 games in 2004 for fighting with a fan.

Some names are so well-known that they’ve become synonymous with a product. For instance, most of us don’t reach for a “tissue,” we reach for a “Kleenex.” “Band-Aids” and “Scotch Tape” are example of this as well. Companies know the importance of their name, even putting trademarks on it so no one can use it wrongly. Related to this, Beth and I saw a coffee shop in Bethlehem with the name “Stars and Bucks.” Companies enforce copyrights and trademarks because they don’t want anyone infringing on their name.

What you call God is a big deal to Him because His name reflects His nature and He’s spent eternity building His name. We could say that its copyright protected. I show respect for Him when I handle His name with care.

Two weeks ago we learned that God doesn’t want to be the chief thing; He wants to be everything. Last week we discovered that how we worship God is extremely important. If you’d like to go back and listen to a message or read the manuscript, simply jump online at, subscribe through iTunes or pick up a CD at the Resource Center. Today we’re going to see how essential it is to watch our mouths because God’s glorious name is not to be taken into the gutter.

Let’s review the Commandments we’ve been learning in consecutive order. We’re doing this because many of us don’t know them. If we don’t know them, we won’t be able to grow through them. I recognize that we have new people each Sunday but you’ll be able to pick them up pretty quickly…if you participate. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says that these commands are to be inscribed on our hearts so that we can impress them upon our children. Would anyone like to come up front and help me with them?

1: Hold up one pointer finger - point to the sky (one God; no other gods)

2: Hold up two pointer fingers – have one bow before the other (no idols)

3: Hold up three fingers – place over mouth (don’t take God’s name in vain)

4: Hold up four fingers – place on cheek as if to nap (Sabbath rest)

5: Hold up five fingers – place hand over heart (honor parents)

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