Summary: Third message in a series called "What if They’re Wrong?" Describes how we misuse God’s name and addresses other names that reveal God’s character.
What If They’re Wrong Series Exodus 20:7
"What’s In A Name?"
We’re in the third week of a series entitled "What If They’re Wrong."
In this series we’re looking at the Ten Commandments and comparing what God says with what our culture says.
Our culture isn’t always completely truthful.
For instance, our culture says that there are no standards.
In our discussion of the First Commandment, we discovered that there are, in fact, standards that all of us can and should live by.
And we noted that God not only set that standard, He IS that standard.
We also saw that our culture says you can only find fulfillment in the things you do or in the things you possess.
Looking at the Second Commandment showed us that we can really only find ultimate fulfillment through a restored relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Today we’ll look at the Third Commandment. Let’s read it again:
“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”
Doesn’t sound like much of a commandment, does it?
But there’s more to this commandment than we realize.
This commandment focuses directly on the name of God.
What’s in a name?
Not much anymore.
• For instance, my name is Carl. Carl means "farmer." I’m not a farmer. I’m not even a very good gardener. I was second runner up in the name game. My father and a friend of his flipped a coin to determine my name. If my father won, my name would be Carl Edward. If his friend had won, my name would have been Edward Carl. Obviously my father won the toss.
There’s no significance to our names today.
Mostly we choose names just because we like the way they sound.
Names in the Bible have significance.
Take Abraham, for instance.
His name means "father of a multitude."
God made him the father of many nations.
And what about Moses.
His name means "drawn."
Pharoah’s daughter named him that because he was "drawn out of the water."
There’s a lady in the Old Testament book of Ruth named Naomi.
Her name meant "pleasant", but because of some hardships in her life she changed her name to Mara.
Mara means "bitter."
A familiar name in the New Testament is John.
John means "Jehovah is a gracious giver."
Another familiar New Testament name is Jesus.
Jesus means "Jehovah is salvation."
So, you see, names in the Bible have much more significance than our names today.
We don’t tend to think about misusing the name of the Lord because our culture doesn’t place any emphasis on names.
That’s why people can give God that derogatory last name and come up with expressions like "Oh, my God" and not give it a thought.
We don’t think it’s wrong to say things like that for two reasons.
First of all, we don’t understand what the commandment means.
The King James Version of the Bible says, "Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain."
The most accurate way to describe that word "vain" is the concept of making something void of meaning.
When we give God a last name or flippantly use the expression "Oh, my God" we make the name of the Almighty, the most holy and magnificent God of the universe, void of meaning.
When you make his name void of meaning you make his person void of meaning.
His name describes who He is.
That’s the second reason we don’t think it’s wrong to misuse the name of the Lord.
We don’t know what his name really means.
I want to share with you some of the names of God this morning so you will have some idea Who God is.
The first name used for God used in the Bible is Elohim.
Elohim is a plural noun.
It’s used with a singular verb.
Right from the start in the Bible God makes reference to the Holy Trinity.
You’ll find this name in the creation account in the book of Genesis.
The Trinity is difficult concept for people to grasp.
Some religious people don’t acknowledge the Triune God.
That’s because they don’t get it intellectually.
I don’t get it intellectually, either.
But then, I don’t understand how I have a body, a mind, and a spirit.
And I don’t understand how Freud came up with the concept of an id, an ego, and a superego.
Folks have believed that for years, and have never questioned it.
It’s an accepted fact that we all have an id, an ego, and a superego.
We accept Freud’s theory without question but we can’t accept God’s truth about himself without raising some doubt.
The thought is, "I can’t buy into that God in Three Persons stuff because it doesn’t make sense. If that part doesn’t make sense I don’t have to believe any of it."